Have Wheels, Will Heal

healthclinicDominican Hospital’s Mobile Health Clinic serves the Santa Cruz community

It’s the season of sniffles and flu bugs, which is unpleasant enough for those who are sufficiently insured. For members of the community who can’t afford healthcare, it can be a nightmare.

But an alternative exists in form of the Dominican Hospital Mobile Health Clinic, which seeks to serve a rising number of locals who are uninsured or are unable to pay the co-pays required for check-ups and medical treatment.

Sister Michaela, who first co-conceptualized the clinic in 1999 and successfully implemented it 12  years later in October 2011, attests that its aim is to meet urgent and episodic care needs as opposed to chronic conditions. Often times the mobile clinic’s clientele would have otherwise gone to the ER for such problems, only to face hectic waiting rooms and grueling lines. Field treatment is more comfortable and efficient, she says, particularly considering the clinic’s robust schedule:  Monday at Resurrection Church in Aptos, Tuesday at Star of the Sea in Santa Cruz, Wednesday at St. Augustine in Scotts Valley, and Thursday at St. John’s in Felton.

Appointments are walk-in only and although Sister Michaela cites an “overwhelmingly positive reception” from the community, she acknowledges that attendance can be varied, with some sites being much busier than others, depending on the day. Challenges inherent in this altruistic start up run the gamut from occasional equipment shortages and delays to the occasional frustrations of predominantly word of mouth advertisement of the clinic’s capacities. However, she says these bumps in the road are outweighed by the appreciation she feels from the population the clinic serves, many of whom just need prescriptions filled and have no where else to go.

“Going to the doctor’s is necessary—but expensive,” she says. “We are happy to offer another option.”

The clinic requests a $15 fee, and can be found at the following locations.

Monday Resurrection Catholic Church, 7600 Soquel Drive, Aptos

Tuesday Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 515 Frederick St., Santa Cruz

Wednesday San Agustin Catholic Church, 257 Glenwood Drive, Scotts Valley

Thursday St. John’s Church, 5953 Hwy 9, Felton

Call 457-7166 or visit dominicanhospital.org for more information.

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