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Mobile health units bringing medical care to rural Oklahoma communities

OSDH mobile unit.jpg
Posted at 4:52 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 20:22:17-04

CHELSEA, Okla.  — The Oklahoma State Department of Health is bringing more healthcare services to rural communities in northeastern Oklahoma.

The state department of health's mobile units are bringing medical care to areas with limited access to a doctor.

The district four mobile unit was set up in Chelsea on Wednesday. It travels to eight different counties within the district. The mobile units were purchased in January with COVID relief funds. Now, their services are growing. At the mobile unit in district four, you can get anything from a COVID test or vaccination to a wellness exam or primary care visit.

"If you’re sick, if you have a toothache, if you have an earache, if you need something and you can’t get into your doctor or you don’t have a doctor to go to, or you don’t have insurance to pay for that doctor, just come and see us and we’ll do our very best to make sure you get everything you need," said Ashley Roberts, family nurse practitioner for the district four mobile care unit.

These mobile units are specifically focusing on rural areas. Roberts said they’re working to fill a gap in communities where people either don’t have access to healthcare or can’t afford it.

“Those folks end up in the ER more often getting care," Roberts said. "And they end up sicker and dying from complications from things they could have caught early.”

These clinics aim to help people before they need an ER, especially as hospitals reach their limit amid the COVID surge.

“So, our goal is to kind of take the strain off of the back end of the healthcare system and the ER system," Roberts said. "And get people care upfront so that they don’t have such a big disease burden later in life.”

Healthcare at these mobile health units is free even for those without insurance. The only cost you’ll have is if you need a prescription.

Roberts is hoping that will encourage more people to get the care they need.

“Just don’t hesitate," Roberts said. "The things that you’ve been putting off going to the doctor for, just come and see us. There’s no judgment. We’ll make sure you get every single service that you are eligible for that you need and we’ll make sure that you’re taken care of.”

There are nine of these mobile health units across the state. Contact your local county health department or check its Facebook page to find out when one will be in your community.

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