(Update: Adding video, comments from DCHS, C.O. Health Council and a commissioner)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Deschutes County commissioners gave the green light Wednesday to accept grant money from Central Oregon Health Council. Commissioners accepted an $80,000 grant to fund purchase and retrofit of a mobile outreach van that will bring a variety of public health programs to outlying areas.
It’s an effort to take medical care on the road, to rural and vulnerable communities.
“Our teams are really excited to be able to offer this and are ready to go and start seeing people out in the places they live,” Deschutes County Health Services Clinical Services Manager Anne Kilty said.
“We hope to purchase a van quickly, but some of that is dependent on the resources that are available,” Kilty added.
She explained the services the mobile clinic van will provide.
“We are going to provide clinical services such as family planning, well-woman visits, blood pressure and diabetes screening, STI services, women’s, infant, children nutritional outreach, prenatal care coordination for pregnant women and case management,” she said.
Deschutes County Public Health has locations in Bend, Redmond and La Pine. But services are often out of reach for rural populations, non-English speaking populations and individuals who struggle with finances or transportation.
“There’s a low inventory for used vehicles, and my goal is to have us up and running no later than July 1,” Kilty said.
The exact timing depends on when DCHS can find a van and get it retrofitted.
Central Oregon Health Council Project Manager Gwen Jones said, “The grant was funded by the Community Advisory Council. it’s a group of community members who are themselves members of Oregon Health Plan, our state health insurance, and folks from our counties.”
County Commissioner Phil Chang thanked DCHS for their services and the planned new offering.
“Thank you for bringing health services to people who need it,” he said.
When the van is up and running, people still will be able to reach the public health line to make appointments. Walk-ins are also accepted. DCHS will also be posting a calendar on the Deschutes County website, letting people know when and where to go.
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