Health Department to provide mobile visits

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

District 1 County Commissioner Randall Jones said last week that the Barnsdall, Shidler and Prue communities in Osage County will begin receiving mobile health visits soon from vehicles purchased and prepared by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Jones said he hopes the McCord community also can be included in the visits. He expressed gratitude for the state Department of Health providing the mobile health service, but said he would really like for Osage County to be able to buy a unit dedicated just to serving its communities. The county collects sales tax in support of the state Health Department.

Jones expressed hope that Osage County government will be able to work with the Osage Nation to address public health needs, as well.

In connection with the anticipated beginning of rural Health Department visits using mobile units, the Osage County Health Department last Thursday hosted a "Show and Tell" event, highlighting health services available to residents.  

In a news release regarding the "Show and Tell" event, the Health Department said some of the services it offers are: immunization; health education; family planning; services related to infectious disease; Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services; consumer protection; and preparedness and response. These services will be provided by professionals who are licensed or certified in their specific field, the Health Department said..   

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is mobilizing a fleet of wellness units and vans to help provide “gap” public health services in every area of the county and state, the Health Department said.

"The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated and expanded this initiative, allowing us to reach under-served communities with vital services, including the COVID-19 vaccine," the Health Department added. 

Each OSDH district will receive a mobile unit that consists of a fifth-wheel travel trailer pulled by an extended-cab dually Ram pickup, and two vans. The trailer is equipped to facilitate full clinic services for women and men exams, well-checks, WIC, family planning, and other public health programs.

"There is a built-in reception area, generator, satellite dish and wheelchair lift among other features," the Health Department continued. "The vans are designed for less invasive medical visits and to facilitate other public health programs. The mobile units are not intended to serve as a medical home for individuals."

“Mobile units have proven to be an effective method of reaching people where they live, work, and play,” Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mendy Spohn said. “Deployment of these mobile units allows public health services to be provided in a wide variety of settings, including neighborhoods, community events and festivals.”