St. Mary’s new Rural Mobile Health Vehicle makes a stop in Rangely

The St. Mary’s Rural Mobile Health Vehicle is a new way to reach people with health care who don’t have a primary care provider or have difficulty reaching one. It made its debut appearance in Rangely. Jen Hill Photo

RANGELY | Last week the St. Mary’s Rural Mobile Health Vehicle made its debut appearance in Rangely, offering a variety of healthcare services to locals without the hassle of traveling to Grand Junction.
Program director Josh Perrin was on hand with the vehicle, which was parked outside of Rangely’s St. Ignatius Church.
“The driving philosophy behind the development of the RMHV is actually quite simple; if patients do not have access to a medical provider, or cannot get to one, then we should go to them. Many of our patients have multiple healthcare issues and our current outreach efforts do not fully allow for collaborative, multidisciplinary care to take place. The advent of this vehicle ideally will enhance not only our ability to provide access for these patients in more remote settings, but will also increase our ability to provide a multidisciplinary approach to care with more physicians being able to interact with patients via remote telecommunication links,” he said.
The vehicle is equipped to provide preventive and primary healthcare services including screening procedures and routine office visits all over the Western Slope. The vehicle is equipped with a portable EKG and offers vaccinations as well. The telecommunication capabilities mean that patients will also be able to access specialists when needed.
The vehicle is typically staffed with one physician and registered nurse and sees six to eight patients per trip, with each appointment lasting around 45 minutes.

Jen Hill Photo
The state of the art vehicle looks like a physician’s office and is equipped with a portable EKG and telecommunications capabilities that allow patients to access St. Mary’s specialists without having to travel long distances.

The program, which is in a pilot period as they assess demand, specifically seeks out patients who do not currently have a primary care provider and self-identify as needing access to a physician. According to Perrin there is currently nothing like the Rural Mobile Health Vehicle anywhere else in the state.
Perrin is hopeful that the new program will greatly improve rural access to healthcare. “This progressive, leading edge initiative will drastically increase the accessibility to top tier healthcare for our traditionally underserved areas, while also decreasing the overall cost of healthcare through evidence based preventive medicine practices. With the advent of services such as this, no longer will a person’s ZIP code be considered a health risk factor.”
“With our mobile health vehicle we will greatly diminish those patients that choose to forego treatment due to lack of adequate transportation,” Perrin said. He emphasized the desire to see patients receive preventative care rather than wind up hospitalized.
Those who would like to schedule with the Rural Health Vehicle should contact Perrin at 970-298-1972.