Mobile medical clinics bring health care directly to homeless veterans in 25 cities


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More than 35,000 veterans in America are homeless — and health care is not always their top priority. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) aims to bridge that gap by bringing medical care to homeless vets.

“The mobile medical unit is a physical truck or van that goes out into the community setting and brings … health care services, those wraparound resources, directly to veterans in the community setting to reduce the barrier of transportation, which is a very significant barrier for this population,” Dr. Jillian Weber, national program manager for Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams in Nevada, told Fox News.

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Morgan Spicer, who served in the Air Force before retiring in 1990, is currently staying at the Salvation Army shelter in Las Vegas. 

When he needs to get a checkup at the clinic, Spicer said it’s typically been a day-long affair.

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Morgan Spicer, who retired from the Air Force in 1990, is currently staying at the Salvation Army. He is pictured here receiving medical care in a mobile unit. (Sunny Tsai)

“If you have an appointment at the hospital, you have to take the Salvation Army bus up there, you have to go at 7:30 am, and then you either have to take a civilian bus back or wait until 1 in the afternoon until he picks you up,” Spicer told Fox News.

But now, the VA’s mobile medical team brings the clinic directly to its patients.

“I just had to walk out the front door,” Spicer said.

“It’s literally a clinic on wheels.”

Elizabeth Jarman, a coordinator for VA Southern Nevada Health Care, told Fox News how the initiative works.

“We go out to one of our community shelters or our transitional housing sites, and we are usually there from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” she said.

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Morgan Spicer, a homeless veteran, has found health care to be much easier with the mobile medical units. “I just had to walk out the front door,” said Spicer, pictured here.  (Sunny Tsai)

“We’re able to see veterans all day long, and then drive [the bus] back to the hospital. So, veterans are able to access primary care on it.”

Jarman added, “It’s everything that you would do in a regular primary care clinic. It’s literally a clinic on wheels.”

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The portable clinics are available in 25 cities across the nation, including Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago and Seattle.

“We know from evidence that veterans experiencing homelessness have unmet health care needs, and they face numerous barriers and challenges to not only accessing medical services and resources, but also engaging in long-term care,” Weber noted.

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The mobile medical unit team in Las Vegas is pictured outside the unit. (Sunny Tsai)

The mobile units are just one way the VA is trying to fight veteran homelessness — by providing them first with housing and then with health care and other support, according to the team. 

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To learn more, or to reach out, anyone can check out details at va.gov/homeless/nationalcallcenter/asp.

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