The Wayne Health Mobile Health Unit continues to partner with local organizations and businesses to offer on-site medical attention to people who need health care.
Phillip Levy is the Chief Innovation Officer for Wayne Health. He says since hitting the streets in 2020, outreach has expanded across the state. They have worked with over 250 different community partners and reached over 62,000 people.
“We’ve worked with a number of different church groups, a number of different community organizations,” Levy says. “We’ve been all the way from Bad Axe, Michigan, all the way to Downriver, and we are out there working with the city of Benton Harbor for lead testing. So it’s really a broad effort.”
The units offer medical services like blood pressure screening, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, and diabetes checkups. Levy says the mobile unit could keep more people away from doctor’s offices long term.
“And so if we can keep people healthy by getting their blood pressure, their diabetes and blood sugar, blood cholesterol, you name it, under control, we know we’re going to help them be healthier overall, going forward.” –Phillip Levy, Wayne Health
Listen: Phillip Levy discusses the mobile health units, community partnerships and the recent surge of COVID-19.
Levy says they are trying to make health care more accessible and efficient, and that means going to where the people are on a day-to-day basis.
“They’re going to places like McDonald’s. And so our goal is to get our mobile outreach, our vehicles, front and center for where people are every day, so that they can think about getting vaccinated, getting COVID tested, getting a blood pressure screening or getting blood work done to look for diabetes, high cholesterol or kidney disease,” Levy says.
Building trust is key to combatting not just vaccine hesitancy but medical hesitancy, Levy says, including serving people not just on an annual basis but year-round. The mobile unit will be in a location 3-4 days in a row.
“That trust starts with the community organizations themselves that we partner with. But it also comes from the persistence and sustained efforts that we’ve been doing,” Levy says. “So on day one, maybe somebody is a little bit curious about what we are and what we’re doing. They see signs that say free vaccinations or free blood pressure screenings, and maybe they think it’s not for them, the next day, they see that we’re still there, perhaps they come up and talk to our people and come up to our site leads or community health workers or nurses on site and just get some questions answered about.”
Amid a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant, Levy says emergency rooms are overwhelmed. At the same time people are hesitant to go to the ER.
“One of the best ways to stay away from the ER is to keep yourself healthy and avoid getting COVID. So that means doing the things you need to do social distancing still works quite well,” Levy says.
He acknowledges that is difficult during colder weather but he also reminds people to wear masks and get tested, especially if they have symptoms.
“it’s so hard to discern what is a flu sniffle versus what is the COVID sniffle? When does this sore throat matter versus that sore throat? You don’t play guessing games just go get tested if you think you have any inkling that you may have COVID.”
Wayne Health also offers monoclonal antibodies at its main site on Mack Avenue. The treatment is administered in a person’s care.
“You don’t have to get out and go to a clinic. You don’t have to potentially expose anyone else. COVID monoclonal antibodies are one of the proven therapies to decrease hospitalizations and decrease deaths,” Levy says.
For more information about the Wayne Health Mobile Unit head to Wayne Health Mobile Website