By: Debbie Teofilo
Special to the Sun
A shiny white mobile van was wheeled into the parking lot at Mountain View Health Center last Friday morning, December 13. It was adorned with a large red bow and ribbon which gave it the appearance of a Christmas present to the community from Kern Valley Healthcare District (KVHD).
In essence, that’s just what it is. Public responses to a recent Community Needs Assessment indicated that better access to primary medical care and behavioral health services were of critical importance for improved health of Kern River Valley (KRV) residents. In order to meet these needs, KVHD used its own operating funds to purchase and outfit a new medical clinic on wheels to be driven to schools and outlying areas within the District to bring these services closer to the public.
KVHD literally rolled out a red carpet in front of the new MobileCare Clinic at the Friday event. Board of Directors members Ross Elliott and Gene Parks cut the ribbon while the audience cheered and then toured the wheeled medical facility.
Greg Davis, manager of the KVHD Mountain View Health Center described the services that will be provided to the schools and community as a whole.
It will be operating as a licensed rural health care clinic as an extension of the existing outpatient services at Mountain View Health Center.
The open house event also celebrated the completed renovation and service expansion at the Mountain View Health Center building located across the street from the Kern Valley Hospital. The public had the opportunity to tour the upgraded facility and enjoy a buffet lunch in view of the beautiful mountains just outside its windows.
The Health Center’s service volume increased more than 13 percent over the past year after hiring primary care physician Sarah Lopez. With the imminent hiring of local Physician’s Assistant Cody Bulgarelli and the addition of MobileCare services, its service volume should continue to increase.
Davis commented that this expansion and improvements couldn’t have been achieved without the support and partnerships of clinic providers, schools and payer support (e.g., Kern Health Systems and Health Net), and support staff. Many of these partners and staff, as well as representatives of State Assemblyman Devon Mathis and County Supervisor Mick Gleason, were introduced to the audience and many gave presentations during the ceremony.
The mobile clinic and outpatient center expansions are meeting its rural clinic mission of providing increased access to care for underserved communities. A new decade for KVHD will begin in 2020 with a literal move in the right direction in meeting this goal.