BALTIMORE (WMAR) — MedStar is taking its services on the road. Today MedStar launched it’s new mobile health center to deliver primary care to some of the most vulnerable communities that Harbor Hospital serves.
"It eliminates a lot of the barriers to getting into the hospital," said Kelly Haynie, Assistant Vice President of Operations at MedStar Harbor Hospital.
MedStar data showed one of the main reason residents don’t pursue health care is because of a lack of transportation.
"So it only makes sense that we create something where we have the ability to bring that directly to the neighborhood," said Haynie.
They conducted focus groups to see what areas needed more services and so that’s where the mobile center will travel: bi-weekly to 8 places in south Baltimore and northern Anne Arundel County.
"We have a nurse practitioner who will be on the mobile unit, as well as a connection to social services through a community health worker," said Haynie.
Nurse practitioner Kelli McCallum will lead the mobile unit team of three: a driver also serves as registrar, and a community health advocate who will assist uninsured and underinsured residents with insurance applications. The advocate may also navigate patients to other support services such as food access, transportation, and housing.
“People often think, ‘If I can’t afford to see someone, I’m just not going to go,’ which is understandable. No one wants a medical bill,” said Kelli McCallum, NP. “Some people don’t have insurance simply because they are challenged to navigate the steps to get it, so they don’t even try. We want to guide them through it. Having the insurance; having primary care delivered to them in their community, means better care management and maybe an earlier diagnosis. This is a new advent to healthcare and is exciting on so many levels.”
The center was in the works long before the pandemic hit, and one of the goals was to use it for sports medicine research and education at sporting events. Through support by the Baltimore Ravens, the France-Merrick Foundation and Kevin & D.J. Plank, the mobile health center is also equipped and staffed to attend sporting events, critical to sports medicine research projects underway with MedStar Sports Medicine.
“While many sporting events now are on hold because of COVID-19, we know the mobile unit will be essential to use at events such as the Baltimore Running Festival, at schools, camps, rec venues, and Raven’s pregame events, for data mining sports medicine research and educating sporting communities,” said Andrew Lincoln, ScD, director of the orthopedics and sports health research program for the MedStar Research Institute. Topics would include cardiac issues, musculoskeletal issues, concussions and return to play.
Referrals to specialists within the MedStar Health system can be acquired through the service as needed. Appointments can be made by calling 410-350-7511, though walk-ins will be accepted on a first-come first-serve basis.
Inside, the two exam rooms are separated by a restroom for handwashing, and a mini lab for point of care tests such as strep, flu, urinalysis, and pregnancy. COVID-19 tests are also available.
Bi-weekly primary care stops will include the following areas:
• Arundel Elementary School- 2400 Round Rd., Baltimore, MD 21225
9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1st, 3rd and 5th Monday of every month
• Cherry Hill Tenant Association- 2700 Spelman Rd., Baltimore, MD 21225
12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 2nd and 4th Monday of every month
• The Transformation Center- 3701 4th St., Baltimore, MD 21225
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1st, 3rd and 5th Tuesday of every month
• Brooklyn Park Library- 1 E 11th Ave., Baltimore, MD 21225
1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month
• North County Recreational Center- 196 Hammonds Ln., Brooklyn Park, MD, 21225
12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month
• Curtis Bay – Drink at The Well- 4710 Pennington Ave., Baltimore, MD 21226
12 p.m. to 4 p.m. 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month
• Lakeland Elementary Middle School- 2921 Stranden Rd., Baltimore, MD 21230
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month
• Westport Academy- 2401 Nevada St., Baltimore, MD 21230
12 p.m. to 4 p.m. 1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursday of every month