GCVHCS to use mobile medical unit Aug. 4 at VFW Post 380 in Picayune

Published 1:21 pm Thursday, July 29, 2021

BILOXI, Miss. – In what represents the first time the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) is scheduled to use a capability designed to further the organization’s outreach efforts in rural communities, the organization’s newly acquired Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) is scheduled at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 380 in Picayune, Mississippi, Aug. 4 from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m.

The MMU, 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, is scheduled to offer COVID-19 vaccinations during the four-hour outreach effort.

“The GCVHCS capability of providing these much-needed vaccinations to our Veterans, caregivers and other eligible beneficiaries in an area distant from VA health care facilities is something we champion,” said GCVHCS Associate Director of Patient Care Services and organization Nurse Executive Dr. M. Christopher Saslo. “We want every Veteran to know that we’re dedicated to ensuring they receive the care they deserve.”

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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. GCVHCS Director Bryan C. Matthews said that although this outreach effort is centered primarily around providing COVID-19 vaccinations, plans to maximize the capabilities of the vehicle are being developed.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to expand our services in the effort of rural health outreach,” Matthews said. “While the ongoing global health crisis has been a great focus, this mobile unit will allow us to reach even more Veterans and as we evolve 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 in addition to providing COVID-19 vaccinations during the Aug. 4 event, GCVHCS employees will also be able to enroll Veterans not currently registered to receive VA health care services. He also reminded GCVHCS eligible beneficiaries that the MMU is not designed to function as an ambulance, and Veterans experiencing a medical emergency are encouraged to contact area emergency services.

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

Media interested in covering the delivery of the GCVHCS MMU are encouraged to contact GCVHCS Chief of Community and Public Affairs Vernon Stewart at vernon.stewart@va.gov or by calling 816-806-7571. Visiting media will be required to wear face coverings and adhere to physical distancing guidelines in accordance with VA regulations and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

The Biloxi VA Medical Center and the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City VA Clinics are all part of the Gulf Coast Veterans Healthcare System (GCVHCS) which is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provide a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 77,000 Veterans.