Rural communities are facing inequities with their health care, whether it’s a lack of health care workers or simply distance from care.
UT Health San Antonio is bridging the gap with its mobile clinic, and thanks to a $150,000 grant, that work will continue.
The bus is a cramped space, filled with medical staff like pediatric nurse Kristin Roeseler and four small patients.
“Alright my friend, I will listen to your heart, your lungs and look in your ears. Is that all right?” Roeseler said to one of her patients.
Roeseler worked at UT Health San Antonio’s mobile clinic six months now. She is part of a team that brings health care to children in rural communities.
“I am not working in surgery. I’m not, you know, the best medical tech, but I’m meeting people where they need to be met,” Roeseler said.
Their pop-up clinic went to Uvalde this week. Roeseler said they have been there several times since the tragedy in Robb Elementary School.
“I feel like they need it more, but I also feel like they almost appreciate it more,” she said.
Dr. Sonya Hardin is dean of the School of Nursing at UT San Antonio. She began her career in rural health care and knows how important filling the coverage gap is.
“A lot of times you can’t get in with a provider the same day you need it. And so being out in the community will allow that to happen,” said Dr. Hardin.
The bus has two exam rooms, lab testing, tools to check your vitals, and all the supplies you would find in your regular doctor’s office.
Over the past year, the clinic’s road trips have brought care to over 300 people in Bexar County, Castroville and Uvalde with more expansion planned.
“You have to help children, which is our whole future, and we want to make sure they get good health care,” said Dr. Hardin.
“We build these relationships and see them and watch them grow,” Roeseler said.
Amerigroup Texas, a health insurance company, provided $150,000 to support the clinic’s road trips.
Dr. Hardin said she hopes to have another bus one day to provide mental health services to rural counties as well.
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