Northwest Louisiana mobile medical clinic improves access to health care
A mobile medical clinic is steadily gaining traction in rural and urban areas of northwest Louisiana after receiving its nonprofit status and serving 1,400 people last year. St. Luke’s Episcopal Mobile Medical Ministry is an RV set up just like a doctor’s office. Its volunteers regularly visit 10 communities and provide primary care and health screenings.
Lois Maberry, board chairman of the medical ministry that began in 2007, said the drop-in clinic is truly open to all.
"We don’t have the restrictions that some of the other free-care places have," Maberry said. "We will at least initially screen somebody even if they have Medicaid or insurance, but maybe struggling to find a medical home.”
The 34-foot RV gets around – setting up in Shreveport neighborhoods, but also locations in Mansfield, Minden, Oil City and Vivian. Executive director Brenda Nims said mobile medical clinics are effective because they go to where the need is and transportation becomes less of a barrier to health care. The clinic is a fixture outside the Hope House day shelter in Shreveport every third Sunday.
“At the Hope House clinic, now when they see the van, they come, but that’s taken years to gain that trust and just to know what that van signifies," Nims said.
The St. Luke’s Episcopal Mobile Medical Ministry has about 40 volunteers and eight episcopal churches are behind it. The clinic will be at the Takin’ It To the Streets event Saturday at Centenary College’s Gold Dome. On Sunday, it will be parked at its usual spot at the Hope House from noon to 2 p.m.