With access to preventive health care more important than ever, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana Care Van® program and Caring Foundation of Montana Inc. have expanded the fleet, adding another large mobile clinic to serve more Montanans every year.
The Care Van program made its debut in September of 2014 and is a community partnership and outreach program designed to help provide greater access to immunizations and other basic health care services. Care Van focuses on rural and underserved areas of Montana, while also holding clinics in larger cities, helping reduce barriers to care. Care Van teams up with community health officials to administer vaccines and health screenings at no cost, or low cost, to patients.
The visible centerpieces of the program are the vans, mobile clinics equipped to provide basic health care. There is enough room inside the new van to setup two immunization stations and check in patients. It also features a medical grade refrigerator and freezer with data loggers to properly store vaccine. With the ability to transport immunizations and set up in a variety of locations, Care Van is a valuable tool for county health departments and other providers.
“The Care Van program is a great model for providing preventive health care services in rural and underserved communities across Montana,” said Kamille Kirchberg, administrator of the Care Van program and Caring Foundation of Montana. “The greatest asset to Care Van, and a main reason this public-private partnership has flourished, is the outstanding relationships we have with public health departments and clinic staff. They believe in prevention and know how to best fill gaps in service.”
Since 2014, the Care Van program has served more than 25,000 Montanans in more than 40 counties. With just one mobile unit, the program historically has hosted around 200 clinics each year. With the addition of another large van the program intends to increase the number of clinics and people served.
“We were able to serve nearly 6,000 Montanans a year with one large van, and with the addition of another mobile unit, we can now serve two communities at once and reach more individuals,” Kirchberg said. “It will also allow us to expand our partnerships in non-immunizations services, such as dental clinics, that historically we have only been able to host when immunization clinics aren’t scheduled.”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the need for accessible preventive health care to the forefront of many communities. The additional large van will allow the foundation to work with partners across the state to bring vital health care services to people who need them the most and help communities catch up on services they may have missed during the pandemic.
For more information or to set up a Care Van event, please contact Kamille Kirchberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.