HCC Network’s new mobile units are bridging the access gap in health care. In addition to their existing medical van, the organization recently acquired a dental unit and a second medical unit to be used for behavioral health. HCC Outreach Coordinator Rhiannon Lovercamp partners with facilities and individuals in need of services to coordinate schedules and bring health care to more people across rural Missouri.
Lovercamp has always had a passion for helping people in her community. Prior to joining HCC, she worked in various health care facilities including urgent care and pain management. Now, she identifies areas where services may be difficult to access and works to continuously expand the number of locations and people served by the mobile units.
Though she’s only been in the role a few months, she’s seen firsthand the impact mobile health care units have on rural communities. “People are so grateful when we come to visit them and provide services,” she said. “It makes it really easy for them and it’s rewarding to see how thankful people can be.”
The three health care units — behavioral, medical, and dental — are each equipped to provide many basic services and procedures. “Anything we can do in the clinic, we can do on the unit,” Lovercamp said.
The medical and behavioral health units have coolers for vaccines, full labs for routine services, and exam rooms for routine exams and small procedures. They also have medication refills and waiting room areas which can be converted into behavioral health rooms for therapy appointments.
The dental unit is divided into two sections with a dental chair on each side. One side is used for routine cleanings, exams, and X-rays; the other is used for treatments including fillings, extractions, and root canals.
“On the new dental unit, we have a panoramic full mouth X-ray, which is really great. I know our doctors are over the moon about that,” Lovercamp said. “I think we’re one of the only people in our area who have these units so that really helps us stand out.”
The medical and behavioral health units each have a designated provider and nurse staffing the van. Each of HCC’s health clinic locations have their own designated staff pair as well. “Since there are so many dental providers we share, and we hope to grow the medical to be the same so we can have more providers on the van,” Lovercamp said.
- Medical mobile unit staff: Marc Archer, FNP, and John Bradley, RN
- Behavioral health mobile unit staff: Angie Woods, mental health NP, and Teresa Stickel, LPN
- Dental health unit staff:
- Waverly: Geoff Peterson, DMD, and Kyra Tracy, registered dental hygienist
- Concordia: Hunter Rolf, DDS, and Caitlin Billings, registered dental hygienist
- Lexington: Madison Riggs, DDS, Briana Menolascino, DDS, and Jessica Crocker, registered dental hygienist
- Independence: Drew Hutinger, DDS, and Kayla Christensen, registered dental hygienist
How Do They Work?
The mobile unit hours of operation vary depending on unit and need. The behavioral health typically visits facilities about every three months, while the dental unit may make visits as frequently as once a month. The new medical unit is still picking up, but Lovercamp expects the schedule to be similar.
The units also park in various towns to provide walk-on appointments and are able to be requested as needed. Organizations interested in scheduling a mobile unit visit can meet with Lovercamp to narrow down what their needs are, how many people need to be seen, and the requested frequency of visits. She will then coordinate dates, aiming to be as flexible as possible.
There is no cost for organizations to schedule routine mobile health care unit visits. For individuals seeking care, services run as they do in the HCC health clinics.
“We do see all insurances on the van, whether it’s Medicaid, Medicare, or commercial insurances,” Lovercamp said. “It basically runs just like a clinic: if you have a copay associated with medical or dental insurance, you have to pay that copay.”
HCC also offers a sliding scale for people who are uninsured which is based on annual household income so they can be seen at a discounted rate.
“We want to help as many people as possible and we want anybody and everybody to have access to health care,” she said. “We help make it easy and affordable so people can take care of their health needs.”
Striving for Equity
Inability to access health care due to lack of transportation or high costs of care is an issue that has long plagued rural communities. Though residents work hard to provide for themselves and their families, they haven’t always been able to invest in their health – until now.
“Overall, the mobile units help make health care more accessible in areas that may not have services that people really need,” Lovercamp said. “You might have the basic services in small towns, but behavioral health or even dental places can’t always do a lot of procedures, so we’re able to come to them and do that. We make it easy for everyone to make their health a priority.”
HCC is always looking to expand the mobile unit services to more locations. Lovercamp encourages facilities and individuals interested in requesting services to contact her directly at 660.243.4045.
“I hope eventually we can get the units going every day in a different town or facility and really grow the outreach piece as a whole,” she said. “We want to strive for equity in Lafayette County, but also in all of our surrounding counties. We want to reach as many people, locations, and towns as possible that really need the help.”
Listen to Lovercamp discuss her role as outreach coordinator and goals for expanding the mobile unit services in her interview for the HCC podcast.
Thanks to the dedication of rural voters in Missouri, Medicaid has expanded to cover more than 200,000 newly eligible adults. Even if you didn’t qualify before, the rules have changed, and low-cost or free coverage may be available.
Routine and preventive services like those offered on the mobile units help patients decrease the likelihood of emergencies now and long-term complications later in life. Learn more about Medicaid expansion in Missouri and contact HCC to receive help applying for the affordable health care coverage you deserve.