Columbia Valley Community Health (CVCH) is reaching out to communities around North Central Washington for interest in its mobile health clinics.

A larger vehicle called the Connect Mobile Unit, and a smaller vehicle called the Connect Van goes out to places such as the Palisades, Malaga and Ardenvoir to perform medical and dental screening, behavioral health and other services.

"So, we look at what the distance is between the rural population and what's the nearest place for a clinic." Member Services Manager Dulce Negrete said. "If the community calls us and we coordinate and we communicate, and they find a need, we will show up and we will park our unit there."

Other stops may include Cashmere and Rock Island which may not be considered rural, but demand for mobile health care is still very high.

"You'd be surprised by how many visits we get in our unit from patients who are unable to come to East Wenatchee or Wenatchee because they work. A lot of our patients prioritize their employment from taking the time of the day off of work to come in and seek medical help, medical assistance. Work is important." Negrete said.

The Connect Mobile Unit was funded by a grant before the pandemic, but it wasn't used to its full potential until last year. It's equipped with two operatories, a waiting area and a place where employees work on patient preparation and charts.

"And then on our smaller van, there were some areas that we couldn't access because the larger unit does require a flat surface and terrain has to be in a certain way," Negrete said. "It's very well equipped with an operatory in the back."

The mobile health units make about three stops every week. When they're not traveling miles to rural communities, you may spot them in the parking lots of local schools.

"Dental screenings are huge for us, because we go in and it's part of our outreach program." Negrete said. "Then we send a letter of follow up to the child's dentist and the parent."

It's important to note that the mobile units are not equipped for procedures such as extractions or fillings, but that an assigned group of support staff can assist in so many other areas.

"Having parents miss a whole day's work versus just getting a nurse and going out there and providing T-Dap vaccinations to students with obviously the support and consent of the parents. And it takes us 15 minutes to go in there and take care of a student versus parents taking the whole day off." Negrete said.

To learn more about CVCH Connect, they have a web page with additional information and a phone number to call to make an appointment.

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