Department of Health’s new mobile unit to expand services to residents | New
ANDERSON – Making health care more accessible to residents of Madison County is the goal of the local health department.
The Madison County Department of Health has purchased a custom-built motorhome that will eventually allow all of Anderson’s office services to be available throughout the county.
The Department of Health’s mobile unit, built by DVC Inc. of Burlington, Wisconsin, cost $ 452,000 and was purchased with federal COVID-19 funding. It took six months to build.
“It was our goal to have it within three to five years or so about a year before COVID started,” said Stephenie Grimes, administrator of the health department. “We started looking at our budget to determine how and where we needed to save.”
She said the funding for COVID presented an opportunity and was quickly approved by the state as it is being used to distribute the vaccine.
Grimes said the mobile unit could be used in conjunction with the Madison County Emergency Management Agency and assist other counties on request.
She said the Wisconsin company has built several motorhomes for use by health departments. Grimes said they are helpful in doing what is needed and in understanding how everything works.
“We plan to use it for anything and everything,” Grimes said. “We want to do it eventually to help with children’s visits, back-to-school vaccinations. In partnership with other agencies, I plan to bring it into the neighborhoods and do health tests.
The long-term goal in the next five years is to deliver the services currently available to the Department of Health office from the mobile unit, she said.
“We can take the mobile unit to any community in Madison County to provide services so people don’t have to travel to Anderson,” Grimes said.
Joe Davis, environmental supervisor in the health department, is responsible for operating the mobile unit.
“It’s a big vehicle,” he says. “It certainly takes focus. Know the routes and watch the turns. “
Grimes said she will be asking Madison County Council’s staff committee for approval to hire a part-time driver for the mobile unit. She said the health ministry received another grant to pay the cost.
“We want someone to be designated to drive it,” she said. “Joe (Davis) has another job in the health department and can’t drive it as much as we want to use it.”
Davis said he had a travel trailer and that experience helped drive the mobile unit.
“There are side cameras to help shoot,” he says. “I feel pretty comfortable. At first I was a little nervous.
The unit gets about 8 miles per gallon and the department has budgeted for the expense.
“As I walked up Eighth Street it was parked by the river and when I was on the bridge I couldn’t cry or laugh,” Grimes said when the department took delivery. “It was a goal and here it is. I have a lot of plans for this.
To pursue Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide or call 765-640-4863.