Mobile Health unit to serve New Summerfield

by Michelle Dillon

There is good news for those in New Summerfield who have difficulty getting to medical appointments or obtaining regular medical care. Intune, a collaboration between UT Tyler and Special Health Resources, will be providing a mobile health unit Mondays and Wednesdays in New Summerfield, beginning Wednesday, July 24.

The purpose of the mobile facility is to “offer care to rural communities and the medically underserved,” according to Carol Rizer, PhD, of UT Tyler.

Patients will be seen from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the mobile unit, which will be placed at city hall, 13280 Hwy 110 North. Depending on community response, hours may change or additional days may be considered.

New patient forms can be found online at www.special by choosing the patient forms tab at the top of the page. The mobile clinic will accept walk-ins, but appointments are preferred. Appointments can be made by calling, (903) 212-7151. Some of the staff is bilingual and there will be an interpreter to assist those who speak Spanish, according to Jennifer Jackson, Intune Marketing Director.

The mobile facility will provide pediatric, adolescent and family medicine including mental health. Telehelp, a program similar to Skype or Zoom, will allow the mobile service providers to consult with psychiatrists or allow patients to schedule time to see counselors from the mobile facility, according to Rizer. Immunizations and student athlete physicals can also be completed, among other types of care, according to Jackson. However, no dental care will be available.

Medicaid and Medicare will be accepted along with most insurance, including Blue Cross-Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Tricare and CHIPS. A sliding pay scale is also offered for those who do not have Medicaid/Medicare, but cannot afford health insurance. For those without coverage, a current driver’s license and last paycheck stub will be necessary. These documents, along with a completed application from the facility, will determine payment. While a down payment is necessary, the staff will try to work with everyone who comes in, according to Jackson.

For patients without regular care, but who make frequent visits to a hospital, referrals can be taken at the mobile unit and the staff will provide maintenance care. Referrals can also be given for those requiring a specialist.

Besides bringing medical care to the community, the mobile unit has a medical diagnostic instrument, a Piccolo Xpress, which allows for lab results in 12 minutes. Such quick turnaround will eliminate the waiting period and allow for the immediate beginning of treatment.

The partnership between Special Health Services and UT Health not only provides medical care within rural communities, but gives opportunities to advanced nursing students to offer care as they learn. The mobile facility will be staffed by two nurse practitioners and the advanced nursing students. There is an obvious advantage to students being able to serve in real-world situations, but Rizer points out patients have an advantage, too.

“Nursing students want to teach patients,” she stated.