North County

New Mobile Health Service Provides Care to Elderly

The service targets elderly who've stopped regular doctor visits because of the coronavirus pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

At a time when many elderly residents have fallen behind in their health care due to COVID-19 concerns, there’s a new mobile health service that essentially brings the doctor’s office to the homes of those patients.

“COVID essentially is keeping them away from health centers like ours for their own good, for safety reasons, and so this provides access for them, for us to be able to take the health care out to their homes,” said Adrian Zavala, Senior Director of Marketing with Neighborhood Healthcare.

The non-profit Neighborhood Healthcare, which serves communities in North and East County, has launched a pilot program to assist patients who’ve had limited access to health care due to COVID or other circumstances.

Neighborhood Healthcare has specially equipped three Toyota Rav-4 SUVs with medical equipment. Licensed phlebotomists then drive to the homes of patients to provide services like drawing blood, administering COVID-19 tests, and other vital sign checks on individuals who qualify for this program.

“The great benefit of the mobile team is that they’re able to be there and assess and then even at a critical moment where they see someone who needs to see their doctor, they’ll connect them right there to telehealth,” Zavala said.

Technicians say patient and personal safety are a priority, and wear full personal protective equipment during home visits.

The program is being rolled out in phases, and since August has served 260-patients. The plan is to eventually serve eight patients a day.

Zavala says the program has a cost of around $250,000 dollars, which is being covered, in part, by a grant from Grossmont Healthcare District and the federal government.

“We’re servicing our community, so if there are people out there who don’t have health care, and have needs, give us a call,” Zavala said.

For more details about the program, visit its website.

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