Beebe Healthcare’s new mobile clinic puts health services on the road in Sussex County

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Beebe Healthcare is putting its services in motion with a new mobile health clinic, a push to meet those in Sussex County where they are.

“You can have the best quality care, but if you can’t get people to it or if people can’t access it, that’s not happening,” said Beebe Healthcare’s chief executive officer. Dr David Tam.

Beebe Healthcare held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for its 36-foot health clinic on wheels, eliminating what they say is one of the biggest barriers to care: transportation. “Sometimes we would take phone calls and patients would call and say, ‘I need help, but I can’t get there because I don’t have transportation. They didn’t want to call 911,” said Shawna Mayles, nurse in charge of the behavioral health department.

Population Health and Community Outreach Services will operate the mobile unit, providing addiction medicine and behavioral health services. “If they have a substance abuse disorder and they’re willing to take medication for treatment, we hope to get them hooked on this service and never on counseling services,” Mayles said.

These are the collaborative efforts of many donors and community partners, including the Carl M. Freeman Foundation. The foundation provided $370,000 in grants to support this mobile health initiative.

President Michelle Freeman says it also gives a sense of comfort to those who fear traditional health care facilities. “Coming for treatment is really scary. So if you come from a marginalized community, often you don’t seek care and you stay sick,” Freeman said.

“That person who may be in the community who didn’t think it was possible for them to be seen by a doctor, or get a shot, or just see a medical professional will now have access right into their back yard.”

As Sussex County continues to experience growth, Beebe Chairman Dr David Tam says the vehicle is just one part of their five-year plan to expand their footprint in the community. “We know there are still places we need to go and that’s what the mobile medical clinic will do for us,” Dr. Tam said.

Many programs and services have made this effort possible, including a $550,000 grant from the Delaware Division of Addiction and Mental Health.

The mobile unit is expected to begin operations later this winter.

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