To help combat the rise of opioid addiction, Winnebago Industries Specialty Vehicles collaborated with The Kraft Center for Community Health to help build a mobile medical clinic, Community Care in Reach, to better serve at-risk individuals in Boston.
Since its deployment in January 2018, Community Care in Reach has made around 10,000 contacts and had nearly 1,400 total patient encounters. Seventy-five percent of Community Care in Reach’s clinical encounters represent follow-up visits by patients. The team has also distributed almost 3,000 overdose-reversing naloxone kits to individuals coping with opioid addiction.
Community Care in Reach was built by Winnebago Industries Specialty Vehicles using their Class C 423S Ford Transit-based platform with personalized modifications. The mobile health unit features a small waiting area, a patient exam room with all the medical equipment necessary to enable the vehicle and staff to act as a licensed satellite clinic. Health professionals can access medical records and enroll patients in programs, bringing the same sense of formality, organization, and process as a hospital.
"Through mobile outreach, these caregivers can engage people in their environment, provide basic services and help patients begin treatment for their opioid addictions in a trusting environment," said Ashis Bhattacharya, Vice President - Business Development, Advanced Technology, and Specialty Vehicles at Winnebago Industries. "The results they've reported in the last two years speak volumes, and we are looking forward to following their results in the coming years."
Health systems around the country employ mobile health vehicles like Community Care in Reach to reduce barriers to obtaining life-saving services to people with opioid use disorder (OUD). Working with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), The Kraft Center’s mobile medical unit provides services such as medication for OUD, preventive care, chronic disease management, referrals to in-patient detox, and harm reduction including naloxone distribution, overdose prevention education, risk reduction counseling, and syringe exchange.
“In Massachusetts alone, an average of six people are dying every day from opioid use and overdose. Since most of these deaths occur in populations experiencing homelessness or housing instability, we needed to bring services directly to this population,” said Craig Regis, Program Manager for The Kraft Center for Community Health. “Through our collaborations with Winnebago Industries Specialty Vehicles and the GE Foundation, we have helped a significant number of people in the last two years who are disconnected from healthcare or don’t have the means to travel. We are very grateful for their support.”
Community Care in Reach is a licensed satellite clinic of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. Health professionals access medical records for patient enrollment while engaging the at-risk population in their environment since travel is sometimes impossible for them. Community Care in Reach staff can write prescriptions on the spot and help patients begin treatment for opioid addiction. Focusing on the neighborhoods with high fatal overdoses, the mobile medical unit hosts eight weekly clinic sessions in downtown Boston, Roxbury, and Fenway.