Care on wheels: County unveils its mobile health vehicle

Pictured are some of the members of the Chautauqua County Health Department standing in front of the new county mobile health vehicle.

After more than two years of planning, Chautauqua County’s mobile health vehicle is hitting the road.

Today through Sunday, from 1 to 6 p.m. the mobile health vehicle will be on display at the Chautauqua County Fair.

Before today’s event, the county’s Health Department displayed the vehicle at an open house Wednesday for the media, elected officials and county employees.

Dr. Michael Faulk, interim Public Health director, said the vehicle will be visiting various community events, where they will discuss a variety of health and social issues.

During the fair, Faulk said the vehilcle will be available for mothers who are breastfeeding their babies and would like a quiet place to go. They will also have pamphlets available on other health topics.

An interior shot of the vehicle

In August, the mobile health clinic will be at Jamestown Community College’s Veterans Wellness Day event where they will address suicide prevention.

Faulk noted they are in the process of applying for their Certificate Of Need through the state. Once they get that license, they will have the ability to offer things like vaccinations or testing for sexually transmitted diseases. That can help groups like those who are homeless and are unable to make a visit to a doctor’s office.

The vehicle is complete with a full exam room, limited laboratory capabilities, and a waiting area.

For now, they are using the vehicle for educational purposes. “We want to start with outreach and education and initially get the word out about what the Health Department provides,” Faulk said.

Some topics include the dangers of lead paint, clean water, services for new mothers, Narcan, drug addiction, and more. “We’re excited to get out there and start educating the public about what Chautauqua County’s Health Department does for our community,” Faulk said.

County Executive PJ Wendel said they first applied to get the mobile health vehicle in 2020 in part to assist in the pandemic. At that time, it was difficult to get supplies, so even though they were awarded the $400,000 grant, the vehicle itself took about two years to arrive.

Now that it’s here, Wendel said it’s going to be used for community engagement for public health and social services. “It will bring access to the people,” he said.

They’re in the process of scheduling visits to various communities and schools. The Dunkirk Common Council has already given its approval to have the vehicle visit their city.

It can also be used for emergencies, should the need arise, for example, involving mass casualties.

Emergency Services Director Noel Guttman said he is glad the vehicle is ready. “The addition of the new mobile clinic will be a welcome addition to Chautauqua County, and will add diversity and additional resources that Chautauqua County can offer,” he said.


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