Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH) will take healthcare services on the road to better serve patients in Wickenburg and surrounding rural communities. The hospital received a $397,500 grant for the purchase of a mobile medical clinic from the United States Department of Agriculture Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program. The mobile clinic will be a self-contained, ADA compliant medical clinic that will be equipped with two examination rooms, ultraviolet disinfection, imaging, a laboratory, basic medications, and satellite connectivity for telehealth visits.
The mobile clinic will be used for WCH’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to support immediate health care needs of our community, to prepare for the possibility of pandemics in the future and to increase access to quality health care services in distressed and underserved communities such as Yarnell, Salome, Wenden and Ehrenberg.
“Many have medical conditions that make COVID more dangerous, and transportation is also a major hurdle,” says Jackie Lundblad, the president and chief executive officer of WCH. “One of our biggest challenges with COVID is serving the thousands of people in our 3,300 square mile service area. The mobile clinic will allow us to meet thousands of patients in their own communities for COVID testing, treatment, vaccines and education.”
WCH was one of several organizations in rural Arizona receiving more than $6 million in USDA COVID Recovery Grants. The others include White Mountain Communities Hospital Incorporated, Steps to Recovery Homes, Pinal Hispanic Council Incorporated, Community Food Bank Incorporated, Black Canyon Community Health Center Incorporated, Bisbee Hospital Association, Regional Center for Border Health Incorporated and Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Xochitl Torres Small, USDA under-secretary for rural development, U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran, and Governor Stephen Roe Lewis and Lt. Governor Monica Antone of the Gila River Indian Community announced the grants in Sacaton on April 15, 2022.
“I’m struck by lessons learned and how you are using emergency rural health care grants,” says Torres Small. “Both are about connecting people whether it’s a hotline for someone who wants to know what to do when they are COVID positive or connecting farmers to hungry people in the same community. You’ve given us a lot of inspiration.”
WCH expects delivery of the 40-foot mobile medical clinic by the end of the year. It will allow care providers to see as many as 50 people per week that otherwise would not be tested for COVID or fully vaccinated against it. Once the vehicle is on the road 5 days a week – the number of patients will increase up to 125 per week or 6,500 additional patients per year.
The USDA funding was obtained by Wickenburg Community Hospital Foundation on behalf of WCH.