Bon Secours offers free mobile medical services
Published 7:00 pm Saturday, September 12, 2015
Like many diabetics are (or should be), Todd Eiffert is a stickler for getting his blood sugar tested every three months.
The problem is that Eiffert doesn’t have health insurance. Fortunately, he has found a free service that will help him.
Every Friday, the Bon Secours Health System “Care-A-Van,” a free mobile health center, is parked at Suffolk Presbyterian Church at 410 N. Broad St., said Kasey Fuqua, a spokeswoman for Bon Secours. The Care-A-Van’s are offered to those who don’t have medical insurance.
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After learning about these services, Eiffert became a frequent patient of the Care-A-Van.
“They actually listen,” he said of the staff. “Here, they care, they talk to you — they explain.”
Every three months, Eiffert comes to get his diabetes blood test done. While his experience with other health care systems has shown a lack of patient-doctor quality time, the staff at the Care-A-Van don’t have a time limit, Eiffert said.
In the past, the medical staff have helped him find a cheaper medicine, as well as referred him to an eye doctor that would offer free services.
“He was a great extension of the Care-A-Van,” he said.
At times the medical staff refers patients to specialists who have agreed to offer free or discounted services to their patients, said Dr. Emily Lieb, a three-year-member of the Care-A-Van medical staff. However, the Care-A-Van is looking for more nearby specialists, Lieb said, because sometimes patients have to travel a long way to see a specialist.
“We really make a difference for the patients,” she said.
Patients are not required to give financial information, Lieb said.
“You come in, they smile, they don’t judge,” Eiffert said.
Another helpful option they offer are coupons or medicines their patients can get for free, Lieb said. Sometimes, the medicines are even delivered to the van and the patients can pick them up there.
Once a patient has checked in, the medical assistant checks their vitals, records their medical history and discusses with them the reason for their visit, Lieb said. Medical histories are kept on returning patients.
Some of the common issues Lieb sees include high blood pressure and diabetes. Rates of diabetes are notably higher in this part of Hampton Roads than in other areas, she said.
There are usually one to two doctors or nurse practitioners on staff at the Care-A-Van. If there are two, one uses the van, and the other sees their patient in a room inside the building, Lieb said. The wait to be seen depends on the number of patients that come to be seen that day, Lieb said.
On the van, the staff are able to draw blood, perform an EKG test and handle other basic medical care, Lieb said. They do, however, have to send blood to the lab, and certain medical procedures require a trip to the hospital.
There are two Care-A-Vans in Virginia, and their services are offered to parts of the Richmond area as well as Hampton Roads.
Donations are accepted for the Care-A-Van. Those who are interested in supporting the Care-A-Van can do so online at www.bsvaf.org/hamptonroads.