Children's Mobile Clinic
by: Laurie Johnson, February 17, 2006 12:02:00 am
Texas Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House are funding and operating the new mobile clinic. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will visit four schools every week. Karen Jackson is the principal of Cornelius Elementary. She says more than half of her students don't have access to health care.
"When they need shots or medical assistance, they're at a loss because they don't have the financial ability to pay for it. Because also 90 percent of our students are on free and reduced lunch, so we have a low-income area here. And the fact that we have this medical facility on campus once a week is just a wonderful asset for our students because they can receive the care free and they don't have to travel because transportation is an issue for a lot of them."
This mobile clinic will operate in the area around Hobby Airport. Texas Children's Hospital has another mobile clinic in the Gulfton area where about 18,000 children have been treated. Dr. Anu McDonald is the Mobile Care Clinic Medical Director. She says they will provide free vaccinations, well-child visits and illness treatment.
"But our mission statement is to hook up every child with a medical home, meaning that, you know, we help them get health insurance so that they can go to a regular clinic or doctor for ongoing care."
Dr. McDonald says they expect to treat as many as 3,000 children this year. Jackson says one of the key componants for the schools is helping with attendance and quality of learning environment.
"Our students are missing shots, and if they don't get their shots before a certain date then they can't come to school. And so having this on campus, the nurse looks at that in advance and says 'Hey, on Monday you need to be at the van to get your shots because we don't want you to miss any days of school.' So, I mean, that alone makes a big difference for our attendance."
Texas Children's Hospital has collected data from the Gulfton mobile clinic showing each year, the number of children at the schools who say they have health insurance has gone up. Laurie Johnson Houston Public Radio News.