Starting Wednesday, Feb. 5, Banner Health’s mobile health unit will resume weekly service throughout the Valley to make free primary care available to thousands of uninsured children.
The “Banner Children’s Healthmobile” is a mobile outpatient treatment center that operates just like a doctor’s office, offering uninsured children up to 21 treatment for health problems, physicals for camp or sports, and routine annual check-ups.
“The Banner Children’s Healthmobile enables us to further support our local communities and hospitals, providing more convenience for parents who’ve had to travel long distances for treatment,” Banner Health children’s health and wellness senior manager Megan Christopherson stated in a news release. “We hope to treat an additional 1,500 children each year through the Healthmobile.”
The mobile clinic complements Banner Health’s Community Clinics in Tolleson and Mesa, which provide medical treatment for uninsured children in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Between the mobile unit and the two clinics, about 3,100 under- or uninsured pediatric patients are served each year, spokesman Corey Schubert said in an email to the Daily Independent.
Operating costs of the Healthmobile and Community Clinics are covered solely through philanthropic support from individuals, corporations and foundations in the community.
Mr. Schubert said the operating cost of the mobile clinic is about $200,000 per year.
The Banner Children’s Healthmobile will be available:
"When deciding on the mobile locations, Banner chose areas of the Valley with a high number of children living in poverty, as well as a high number of uninsured children using their local Emergency Department for primary care services (such as pink-eye, strep, flu, etc)," Mr. Schubert stated. "These areas were somewhat easy to identify, as families were driving from these locations to our free-standing clinics, and would often tell us how far they had to travel to obtain affordable care."
Mr. Schubert said there is no end date for the mobile unit, but there will be reduced hours over the summer.
Children from across the Valley can visit the mobile clinic for concerns ranging from earaches to neurological conditions. A parent or guardian must be present. The medical staff includes a nurse practitioner, bilingual medical assistant and an Emergency Medical Technician. The clinic will not provide OB/GYN vaccines.
"As pediatric providers, the scope includes children and young adults up to 21 years of age," Mr. Schubert stated. "Our typical age served is 0 to 18 years, but we can provide services to those up to 21 years as long as they are still enrolled in high school. We refer older patients to more adult-appropriate care for health concerns (such as chronic conditions) that need ongoing adult follow-up."
Walk-ins are welcome at the mobile clinic, but an appointment is preferred. Call 480-412-6344 to make an appointment.
Contact the Banner Health Foundation at 602-747-GIVE (4483) for more information about how to support Banner Children’s Community Clinics program or the Banner Children’s Healthmobile.