Kaiser Permanente and Medical Teams International are partnering on a new program to hold free mobile clinics throughout Southwest Washington and Oregon. The next local clinic is scheduled for Aug. 24 in Longview.
Over the next six months, Kaiser Permanente Care & Connect will initially offer 51 clinics providing dental care, preventive screenings and connections to ongoing services at no cost.
The program aims to increase access and delivery of healthcare services to people in underrepresented communities.
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“The pandemic has affected everyone, but communities of color and the uninsured have been hit particularly hard,” said Jeff Collins, regional president of Kaiser Permanente Northwest, in a statement. “Our partnership with Medical Teams International and local community-based organizations hosting these clinics will allow us to visit communities with the greatest need, helping to break down barriers by meeting patients where they are and providing the individual care they need.”
The organizations previously partnered on mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics throughout the region, administering 12,150 vaccines during nearly 400 clinics in 2021, according to the press release.
At these mobile clinics, patients can receive emergency dental services, including restorations and extractions, fluoride and sealants, and referrals for low-cost specialty services.
Medical care offered includes hypertension, diabetes and mental health screenings, COVID-19 vaccinations and referrals to primary care. The clinics will also offer assistance in scheduling appointments and help uninsured individuals and families with Medicaid eligibility screenings and enrollment.
Language assistance will be available. The program includes partnering with community-based organizations to address other needs like food security and housing needs, according to the press release.
Kaiser Permanente plans to grant 14 community-based and culturally specific organizations with $20,000 each to help host the clinics and support referral work in their community, according to the press release.
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The clinics started in June, with the first Cowlitz County clinic held in early July. The organizations expect to schedule more clinics as the program gets underway.
“We believe that taking healthcare directly to people in most need will lower a number of critical barriers they experience in trying to access care,“ said Cindy Breilh, Medical Teams executive director of U.S. Programs, in a statement.