Las Vegas Sun

October 15, 2019

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New mobile children’s clinic addresses gap in care for Las Vegas

Mobile clinic for children

Courtesy photo

A fully operational mobile clinic, shown in this illustration, will launch in Las Vegas in a partnership between the Children’s Health Fund and Nevada Health Centers.

At-risk Las Vegas-area children will have another option in securing medical care beginning this summer.

A fully operational mobile clinic will debut in a partnership between the Children’s Health Fund and Nevada Health Centers, and most important, it can’t turn a child away, says Randal Christensen, chief medical officer of Nevada Health Centers.

The mobile clinic, which will have the professional staff to help with everything from general check-ups to more intense medical needs, operates on an income-based sliding scale and also accepts insurance. But, with 19 percent of Nevada children living in poverty, according to the 2017 Annie E. Casey Kids Count report, it will serve a need for those who don’t have other health options.

“Many people don’t know that Nevada is a frontier state and that access to care is limited, especially for children and families living in poverty,” said Dennis Walto, chief executive officer for Children’s Health Fund. “To have a mobile clinic that is able to go out and deliver care to where children are is a big step toward acknowledging that we need to make children a priority and bring them the services that they need.”

Children’s Health Fund launched its first mobile medical clinic more than 30 years ago to help bridge the gap between children and access to necessary medical check-ups. The clinics are fully equipped examining rooms, waiting areas, nurse stations and a room for medical procedures.

The partnership between the nonprofit and Nevada Health Centers formed because the national nonprofit's strategies to reach vulnerable and underserved populations were designed to solve the same issues that many families in Nevada face. The clinic ensures access to high-quality health care to the state’s most disadvantaged children in areas that have high poverty, health provider shortages and transportation barriers, Christensen said.

The initial estimates on incremental reach via the Nevada program exceed an additional 3,700 children and approximately 14,000 provider visits per year, according to the 2017 state health fund report.

“They can identify any issues that may be causing them a failure to thrive,” Walto said. “Starting earlier on with making sure that the mom is engaged in her prenatal visits and post-birth making sure that children come in for their well-child checks and make sure that there is a consistent monitor on how that child is doing.”

The ribbon cutting will be in mid-May and Walto anticipates it will be operational within the following weeks.

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