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LifeBridge Health > News Releases > LifeBridge Health Launches Pilot Program with Community Mobile Clinics Offering In-Home COVID-19 Testing and Access to Care for Vulnerable Communities

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For Immediate Release
7/1/2020
Helene King
410-790-3868
hking@lifebridgehealth.org
https://www.lifebridgehealth.org
LifeBridge Health Launches Pilot Program with Community Mobile Clinics Offering In-Home COVID-19 Testing and Access to Care for Vulnerable Communities

Baltimore, MD – LifeBridge Health recently launched two new community mobile health clinics to take COVID-19 testing and health care services to neighborhoods and LifeBridge Health patients at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19. The mobile clinics offer a targeted “on the ground” approach to provide testing as well as referrals for both medical and social services for people who may face multiple barriers to care.  

“We recognize that some of our patients may have trouble accessing current COVID-19 testing options, including drive-up testing, and many of our most vulnerable residents are concerned about seeking care in person at a hospital or doctor’s office,” says Pothik Chatterjee, executive director of Innovation and Research for LifeBridge Health. “Our mobile clinics give us the capability to prevent individuals who already have COVID-19 from developing more serious complications, as well as the ability to connect individuals who test negative but have other unmet health needs, including cardiac conditions and diabetes, with services to address those needs.” 

LifeBridge Health repurposed two of their patient shuttle vans into mobile clinics to take services into communities, starting their pilot in Baltimore City. The clinics are staffed by a nurse and a community health worker who both wear full PPE (personal protective equipment) when entering a patient’s home. In addition to medical equipment, each team carries an iPad that allows them to record data and connect patients with providers in LifeBridge Health’s Virtual Hospital for telemedicine consultation, as needed. 

The communities the mobile clinics will serve often face multiple barriers to both effective testing and care, including a lack of transportation, no way to access telemedicine resources, the inability to afford care or prescriptions, and housing and food insecurity. They also often have higher rates of pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, that heighten the risk of serious complications or death from COVID-19. LifeBridge Health mobile clinic teams not only bring testing directly to these underserved populations, but also use the testing visit as an opportunity to link high-risk individuals with both care management services and clinical care.

  “Our new mobile clinics are a natural expansion and continued evolution of LifeBridge Health’s existing Population Health programs, which proactively address not just clinical needs but also the socio-economic needs in the communities we serve,” says Susan Mani, MD, chief population health officer for LifeBridge Health.

She adds, “LifeBridge Health established a strong reputation as a trusted resource for patients and community partners throughout central Maryland well before COVID-19 struck. We understood the communities that would be most affected by COVID-19 would be those with socio-economic disparities. By taking care directly into our communities and into our patients’ homes in a safe manner, we can address the holistic needs of individuals during this pandemic and increase COVID-19 testing in our most vulnerable populations.”

LifeBridge Health Community Mobile Clinic visits are scheduled in advance with the patient and are targeted using a data-driven approach to get resources to those individuals at greatest risk based on numerous factors, including age, chronic diseases, population density, and social determinants of health. 
 
About LifeBridge Health
LifeBridge Health is one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of health services in Maryland. LifeBridge Health includes Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Grace Medical Center and related subsidiaries and affiliates. For more information, visit www.lifebridgehealth.org
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