This award has only been given three other times since it was founded in 2010. It recognizes innovations in mobile health, and it is hyper-rigorous. For one thing, there’s no application process: the VNA Foundation only selects those on its radar, and to get on that radar, an organization must stand out as innovative, unique, and impactful. From there, a non-profit has to be nominated by the Foundation’s Executive Director, and the award is granted via vote of the Foundation’s full board. The Anne M. Davis Mobile Health Award comes with a $10,000 prize.
Mobile Care Chicago received the award for two reasons: one, the Flex Van, the first of its kind in the country; second, because of our efforts to integrate our dental and medical programs through the expanded functions of our EHR systems, also a first for a mobile program.
Lastly: we wouldn’t have the means to be such an adaptable and innovative clinic without your continued support, so thank you!! Thanks to you, we’ve been able to continuously update our vans to be adaptable and safe, implement more efficient technologies in order to reach and retain patients who need us, and hire the best staff out there – all things that set us up to receive an award like this. We are truly grateful.
You can watch the conversation here and learn more about why MCC received this great recognition!
This time our story comes from the Dental Van, where our five year old patient Stella has shown great improvement in her oral health. Her parents learned some key information on their visits to the Dental Van and two years after that initial appointment she’s no longer dealing with cavities! We’re happy to see another family get the information they need to ensure a healthier lifestyle.
Help support our program and the families that receive treatment by sharing our mission with others, donating and coming to our event June 9th! Register Here.
Over the last few months, we’ve had some great acquisitions for the Mobile Care workforce. One of these amazing additions is our Cargo Van! The Cargo Van is our latest vehicle to join the Mobile Family and it’s already had a complete MCC makeover! Thanks to Do Right Services our van looks fresh and ready to serve the Chicagoland community one school at a time.
This addition gives us the flexibility to see dental patients inside the schools, as opposed to exclusively treating them in the van, which means expanding the overall scope of our dental program. More children deserve to have quality dental care, and the new Cargo Van will get that done!
In our Strategic Plan we stated that we’d increase patient capacity by 40%. Knowing the importance of this comes with understanding the lack of specialty care in some of the most at-risk neighborhoods throughout the greater Chicago area. By increasing our patient capacity, we are creating systems, programs and avenues to assist with closing the gap as it pertains to access to quality care, with the goal being to reduce health disparities, increase health equity and level the playing field in availability of care. In an effort to reach this goal, Mobile Care will continue with the tried and true method of adding new school sites as well as resurveying current school populations for new patients and further removing the barrier of location and transportation by permanently offering virtual visits as an option. We have also added additional services like physicals and immunizations, partnered with Howard Brown Health to meet the demands of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in addition to performing HIV testing in partnership with Howard Brown Health. We’ve worked with PerfectVision to deliver no cost eye exams and glasses to kids and most recently we’ve partnered with UIC to address the opioid crisis. All of these efforts have greatly expanded our reach. Using some of the tactics above we are diligently working to bring our unique patient (for asthma) volume up to 1,200 by the close of the current fiscal year. When this is accomplished, more families across the Chicagoland area will have received high quality care to address various needs. Thousands of kids will have reduced their trips to the ER, hospital stays and school absences related to asthma/allergies and, hopefully, have a better quality of life.
-Kamari Thompson, Director of Patient Services
Children with untreated chronic conditions experience increased school absenteeism and poorer performance in school compared to their peers. Children with untreated chronic conditions use expensive ERs and hospitals for medical care at triple the rate of other children. The vast majority of preventable emergency department visits among children, as well as negative health outcomes and cost, are being shouldered by economically disadvantaged parents who have children with chronic health conditions. This cannot be a reality we allow ourselves to accept.
Mobile Care Chicago’s Board and staff are committed to maintaining healthcare access for the thousands of people who came to us for the first time during the pandemic, but doing so will mean substantially increasing our clinic capacity. I feel very fortunate to report that, thanks to our many individual and grantmaking supporters, this expansion is already well underway. We’ve dramatically expanded our clinic staff (from 13 staff in the first year of our Strategic Plan to 20 staff currently), and we’re going to be hiring more positions in 2022. Our ultimate goal is to serve over 10,000 children annually across all of our programs by the end of 2023. Just as important, however, is to use this opportunity to streamline our protocols and make it easier to scale beyond 10,000 children in the years beyond. There are tens of thousands of children in and around Chicago lacking necessary medical and dental care. As an organization nationally recognized for its ability to reach and effectively treat people in need, we must do everything possible to drive the health clinics people need to their neighborhoods quickly and consistently. I’m excited to implement our plan through 2023—I know many lives will be changed for the better because of this effort.
In conjunction with its 15th Anniversary, Mobile Care has decided to update its name—from Mobile C.A.R.E. Foundation to Mobile Care Chicago.
Mobile Care, no matter the name, has always been an organization singularly focused on one thing: providing high quality medical care to children whom otherwise could not access it. Mobile Care does this through a mobile platform because it allows the organization to reach working families who can’t commute, and partner with schools where neighborhood kids can be easily treated without undue interruption of their school day.
As such, the organization’s work is best expressed through Mobile Care Chicago, since it uses Mobile clinics to provide medical Care in Chicago. The old name, though near and dear, too often confused people with the word “Foundation”—a word which in 1998 was associated with any consortium working toward a common goal, but in contemporary parlance has a narrower “grantmaking” connotation that isn’t accurate for Mobile Care.
Early pictures have come in from the build-out of our Dental Van!
Our new Dental Van – following the delivery model perfected by the Asthma Vans – is a comprehensive mobile clinic with a dentist aboard that will break down barriers of access to dental services with children across the Chicagoland area. This is especially important because, according to the American Medical Association, four out of five children do not receive preventative dental care. In some cases, a visit to the Dental Van will be the first time a child sees a dentist.
Let’s take a brief tour!
The Dental Van is bigger than our Asthma Vans so that we can have two operatory chairs:
Our Dental Van also features a Stericenter which will afford efficient workflow space and allow sterilizing and storing instruments. There is additional storage behind the rear operatory room.
We see children at their school sites to provide the benefit of low wait times. Children don’t miss a lot of school and parents don’t have the added stress of traveling far to make appointments. Our Dental Van has a small, interior waiting room to accommodate a child and parent. The seat can fold up or down to accommodate workflow.
Interior waiting area
Now that we have the Dental Van our next steps include staffing, decorating the inside, and continuing to partner with school sites. In our first year we expect to visit 2,000 children at 40 partner schools. We cannot wait to get started!