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Pete’s Perspective: The Mobile Health Clinic – Helping Close the Health Equity Gap

Pete’s Perspective: The Mobile Health Clinic – Helping Close the Health Equity Gap

The pandemic’s high toll on racial and ethnic minority groups has drawn even greater attention to the historic issue of health equity. It’s a longtime challenge that Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is working to change.

Equality means giving everyone the same resources. Equity is distributing resources based on the needs of the recipients. One of our goals at SVMHS is to take actions that help achieve equity. In moving beyond “equal” access to healthcare and instead providing equitable access, we make a difference for our most vulnerable populations.

When the SVMHS Mobile Health Clinic began providing medical services in January 2020, we knew it was an important bridge in outreach. We could not have imagined then how much it would help during the pandemic. In addition to easy access for COVID testing and vaccines, the Mobile Health Clinic provided preventative and primary care that many people would not have otherwise received. It brought medical services beyond the walls of our healthcare system when it was needed most.

With no questions asked about legal status and no payment presently required, the Mobile Health Clinic is a welcomed resource for many. It delivers healthcare services beyond the four walls of the hospital and with consideration for the whole patient. Community Health Advocates assess social and health needs and establish relationships with patients. They connect patients with resources to manage chronic medical conditions. Mobile Health Clinic staff provide social support with food, grocery and gas cards, and test kits for blood pressure and blood sugar. They share clothing and blankets, along with books, games and stuffed animals for the little ones.

For some patients, a visit to the Mobile Health Clinic is their first time seeing a doctor. Imagine the difference our 40-foot unit can make in a person’s life: being met with kindness, respect, bilingual healthcare professionals and free medical care – all close to home and in a welcoming environment. It’s a service we are honored to share throughout Monterey County.

The Mobile Health Clinic has traveled far in building trust in our community. It is our direct action and commitment to help bridge the health equity gap. At SVMHS, we strive to achieve even greater success in making a difference in healthcare outcomes for underserved populations. We appreciate the strong commitment from our Foundation, community leaders and staff at all levels of our organization to make this a reality.

Good health is a great wealth in life. It should be accessible by all.

Be safe and be well.

– Pete

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