HARRISBURG, September 13, 2022 – State Senator Katie Muth (D- Berks/Chester/Montgomery), chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, joined state Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) to host a virtual public hearing on strategies to enhance mobile health clinics and community health centers in Pennsylvania.
The hearing, held earlier today on Zoom, featured two panels of expert testimony from health care providers, advocates and professionals on community healthcare delivery in Pennsylvania.
“Today’s hearing really highlighted the importance of, and need for, more mobile healthcare units in our Commonwealth. By expanding health services outside the traditional health care system, mobile health clinics reduce health disparities and meet people where they are – eliminating so many barriers to healthcare,” Muth said. “Healthcare is a human right, and we need to continue to work to ensure that every Pennsylvania family has access to quality, affordable healthcare.”
Mobile healthcare clinics are portable health facilities that travel to underserved areas to deliver care to residents. Although they do not substitute for a hospital emergency room in urgent cases, these clinics can compensate for gaps in traditional health care safety-net programs by traveling directly to communities and offering an extensive range of services, including dental, mental health, laboratory, and primary care.
“We have severe gaps in access to health care in Pennsylvania,” Haywood said. “Funding and expanding mobile health clinics and community health centers will help communities to obtain access to health care.”
According to Dr. Michael McShane, assistant professor of medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine, in addition to providing access to health care resources in resource-limited locations, mobile clinics have reduced unnecessary health care utilization and costs and reduced avoidable emergency department visits, with an estimated total savings of over $1.1 billion per year nationally.
“Mobile health clinics can literally and figuratively be the vehicle to build bridges with surrounding communities to create lasting bonds towards community health and well-being. Mobile health clinics help us think differently about health care delivery by being embedded into the most under-resourced communities and assist clinicians in learning, serving, and leading along with the community towards health and well-being,” McShane added. “In this type of model, we reconnect about what makes us human, what brings us together, and what helps us live a healthier life.”
Additional participants in the hearing included Eric Kiehl, Director of Policy and Partnerships, Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers; Richard Rinehart, CEO, Cornerstone Care Community Health Centers; Donna Simpson, Director of Communication, Outreach and Mobile Services, Cornerstone Care Community Health Centers; Tracy Wood, Executive Director, Black Doctors Consortium; and Dr. Morgan Hutchinson, Assistant Medical Director, Emergency Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Senator Amanda Cappelletti (D-Montgomery/Delaware), Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and Senator Tim Kearney (D-Chester/Delaware) also participated in the virtual Policy Committee hearing.
All submitted testimony from the policy hearing and the full video is available at SenatorMuth.com/Policy.
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Panel 1: Community Health
- Eric Kiehl, APR − Director of Policy and Partnerships, Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers
- Richard Rinehart − CEO, Cornerstone Care Community Health Centers
- Donna Simpson − Director of Communication, Outreach and Mobile Services, Cornerstone Care Community Health Centers
Panel 2: Mobile Clinics
- Tracy Wood − Executive Director, Black Doctors Consortium
- Michael McShane, MD, EdM − Assistant Professor of Medicine | Penn State Health Medical Director, LION Mobile Clinic | Assistant Director of Core Clinical Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine | Health Equities Co-Clerkship Director, Penn State College of Medicine
- Morgan Hutchinson, MD − Assistant Medical Director, Emergency Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital/JMH | Director of Education and SI-Design Track, Health Design Lab, SKMC
- Health Equity Proposal for Community Health Center Funding
- Health Equity – Enhancing Mobile & Community Clinics in PA − Statewide Map
- Health Equity – Enhancing Mobile & Community Clinics in PA − Philadelphia Map
- Brochure − Community Health Centers: Care That Puts You First
- FQHC/RHC/Free Clinic Requirement Comparisons