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Phoebe Purchasing Mobile Medical Units To Improve Rural Access to Care and Fight COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

Albany, GA | August 14, 2020 – The Phoebe Foundation Board of Directors approved spending $1,000,000 to purchase and outfit two mobile medical units to provide Phoebe the ability to deliver primary care, specialty care, and health and wellness resources to underserved areas throughout southwest Georgia.  The units will provide a wide variety of services including in-person clinical assessments in rural communities, management of chronic conditions such as diabetes in neighborhoods with high rates of the conditions, physicals and workers comp assessments at businesses, health education, vaccinations and COVID-19 testing and care.

This investment is a direct response to COVID-19 and part of Phoebe’s plan to prepare for potential future pandemics.  “In recent months, the need for better access to care has been amplified by the staggering impact of COVID-19.  The pandemic exposed social disparities and revealed how rapid deployment of prevention tools and expanded treatment access may not only help effectively fight outbreaks but could close healthcare gaps and improve overall health for our most at-risk communities.  Our caregivers look forward to taking these mobile units to the people in areas where care is needed most,” said Derek Heard, MD, Phoebe Physicians Medical Director of Primary Care. 

Each vehicle will be equipped with exam rooms, a laboratory, medical refrigeration, imaging equipment, telehealth equipment for remote consultations with specialists, a bathroom and a waiting area.

“There are so many ways we’ll be able to use these units.  The sky truly is the limit.  Rural communities need easier access to care they can count on, not more barriers to the care they deserve.  While we are committed to building new health facilities, there’s no way any health system can afford to do that in every community that needs a clinic.  Our communities need a more creative solution, and we believe these mobile units will help provide that solution and help us live up to our vision to make every life we touch better,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System President & CEO.

Through the generous support of donors, Phoebe Foundation provides vital funding to support Phoebe’s mission.  “This is a large investment by our foundation and one we are confident will have both immediate and long-term health benefits for people across our region.  Lack of access to care has a direct negative effect on community health, and our board is pleased to support this innovative outreach effort,” said Rick Doherty, Phoebe Foundation Board Chair.

Phoebe expects the units to be delivered by February and estimates utilizing them to treat more than 4,000 patients in the first year of their deployment, with that number growing to nearly 17,000 by year five.

Photo: Shows a mock-up of what the mobile medical units may look like.