GCVHCS to receive mobile medical unit July 9

Published 9:34 am Thursday, July 8, 2021

BILOXI, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) is scheduled to receive a Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) July 9 at the Biloxi Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center at 2 p.m.

The MMU is a vehicle specifically designed to deliver primary care and other services to enrolled Veterans with limited access to VA healthcare services due to low population density, remoteness or limited local demand for specialized services. Although scheduled for delivery to the Biloxi VA Medical Center, the MMU will also be used at the organization’s Community-based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Alabama and Florida.

The 30-foot vehicle, outfitted with a wheelchair lift, storage space for primary care medical equipment, a generator, sink, laboratory area and refrigerator, is designed for non-emergent medical procedures.

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GCVHCS Associate Director of Patient Care Services and organization Nurse Executive Dr. M. Christopher Saslo said the advent of this mobile delivery method of health care should augment the organization’s capabilities of providing health care to Veterans and other beneficiaries unable to travel to GCVHCS facilities for necessary primary care appointments.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to expand our services in the effort of rural health outreach,” Saslo said. “Most recently, the pandemic and vaccine availability has been a great focus for the healthcare agency and this mobile unit will allow us to reach even more veterans, caregivers and others than before. As we evolve in this outreach opportunity, we hope to make this program one that offers a host of vaccinations, care and more to America’s heroes.”

Saslo added that the GCVHCS MMU is not designed to function as an ambulance, and Veterans experiencing a medical emergency are encouraged to contact area emergency services.

The MMU will be available beginning in late summer. Veterans unable to travel to a scheduled primary care appointment are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician about the possibility of receiving health care through the MMU.

Saslo also said that MMU’s have been used by the VA for more than two decades, and that the capabilities this vehicle offer can impact the quality of care the GCVHCS can provide.

“MMUs have also been used to identify and enroll Veterans who, for several reasons, may not have sought needed care and services at permanent VA facilities,” he said. “The fact that we are essentially adding a primary care outlet capable of travelling anywhere will significantly enhance our capability of doing what we do – providing the best possible health care to our nation’s heroes.”

Additionally, the GCVHCS MMU is also designed to operate in contingent situations, according to GCVHCS Emergency Manager Bill Wince.

“The MMU can also provide service continuity during emergencies when permanent sites of care are disabled or insufficient to meet the demand for healthcare services,” he said. “Units similar to the one we’re receiving were used as part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ recovery efforts during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey [in 2017 in Texas and Louisiana.]”