Beebe Mobile Health Clinic bringing in care | News | – Coastal Point

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Beebe Healthcare is taking its new Mobile Health Clinic on the road, and they hope patients can receive enhanced care as the community continues to grow.

Staff Reporter
Beebe Healthcare is taking its new Mobile Health Clinic on the road, and they hope patients can receive enhanced care as the community continues to grow.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week for Beebe Healthcare’s new Mobile Health Clinic, the “road” and “driving” puns were flying. The unit’s purpose, however, is no joke, and Beebe officials drove home that point by explaining just what the 36-foot-long specialized bus will be used for.
Beebe President and CEO Dr. David Tam said at the ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 16, that Beebe “is fundamentally changing the way it can deliver care to Sussex County as it continues to grow.”
The unit is divided into two sections and will serve as an exam space for mental health and/or behavioral health services or physical health screenings and services.
As the unit travels into a community, a “peer coach” will meet community members outside the unit to find out what services they might need. Then, patients will be “triaged” and sent to one of the exam areas inside the unit.
Multi-disciplinary teams will be onboard to provide the necessary care. Telemedicine services with physicians will be available, as will translation services, when necessary. The mobile clinic is equipped with satellite broadband internet, a solar panel for power and more than 400 square feet of clinical space.
Funding for the unit comes from several sources. The Delaware Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health awarded the Beebe Medical Foundation a State Opioid Response grant of $550,000. The grant was given to Beebe to expand its treatment capacity and to help with outreach to high-risk populations and enabled the purchase of Beebe’s first mobile health unit.
In April, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation awarded Beebe a three-year matching grant of $375,000. Michelle Freeman, CEO of Carl M. Freeman Companies and chair of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, said that when she walked across the parking lot at the Beebe Healthcare Specialty Surgery Center, where the unit was parked for the ceremony, “I welled up and started crying.
“As a funder who give grants and writes checks,” Freeman said, “all you want is for your dollar to make a difference.” Seeing the Freeman Foundation grant in action at Beebe, she said, is “unbelievable.”
All any donor, no matter what the amount, wants to see, Freeman said, is that their donation “is treated with respect and dignity and is put to work in the community.”
Freeman then connected the new outreach capability with personal experience “as a recovering drug and alcohol addict of 35 years.”
“A lot of people don’t get help because of shame,” she said. “What I think is beautiful about this van is that it will go into the community, and it will bring help. And there is no shame in walking into a place that looks like this,” she said, pointing to the bus, which is decorated with rainbow-colored silhouettes of people.
“We start to change people’s lives when this goes into communities with barriers, who are afraid, who may not want to come to a hospital, who may not have a way to get there. And they can walk in here … and get the help that they desperately need,” Freeman said.
“This mobile medical unit is just the beginning,” Tam said. Smiling, he said Beebe “will continue to drive — no pun intended. No, actually, pun intended — health care quality in this county.”
Before the ribbon-cutting, the unit received a blessing from Nanticoke spiritual leader Herman Jackson, who walked around the vehicle using a feather fan to spread smoke from a smoldering mixture of greens including sweetgrass, cedar, tobacco and sage. Nanticoke Chief Natosha Carmine offered a prayer after expressing gratitude as a leader of the Nanticoke Tribe, and hope that the unit will be used to reach out to all Sussex County communities that need its services.
Following the ceremony, Tam said the vehicle will be used for public events, such as community health screenings, in addition to the clinical uses. He said the vehicle could also be used for certain types of “house calls.”
He said Beebe will work with community organizations, school districts and CHEER centers to identify needs throughout the county that the mobile unit can address.
Reiterating Freeman’s comments about addiction medicine, Tam said those who are affected by addiction “don’t want to come to a place that’s crowded. They want to have their privacy,” he said, and patients will be able to make appointments for treatment on the mobile unit.
“We expect this thing to be on the road every single day,” he said, starting within “a couple weeks.”
Staff Reporter
Kerin majored in journalism at Ohio University and has worked as an editor and reporter for monthly, daily and weekly publications in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware since 1983. A native of Baltimore, Md., she has lived in Ocean View since 1996.
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The Coastal Point is a local newspaper published each Friday and distributed in the Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Fenwick Island, Ocean View, Millville, Dagsboro, Frankford, Selbyville, Millsboro, Long Neck and Georgetown, Delaware areas.