A medical clinic on wheels will soon be going into East Texas towns that don’t have enough health care providers.
During a Thursday morning news conference at the University of Texas at Tyler, dozens gathered for the unveiling of the INTUNE Mobile Health Care Clinic, created as part of a collaboration between the university and Special Health Resources for Texas.
The mobile primary-care clinic, which has two rooms where patients can be examined, will make health care more accessible to those who live in areas where there are few, if any, doctors, speakers said.
State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, who was projected on a big screen as she spoke from her home, said the unit will address the growing problem of lack of medical care in rural and poor areas.
“Texas has lost more rural hospitals than any other state,” said Klick, who also is a medical consultant. “I hope this will become a model to the rest of the state.”
Barbara Chapman, a UT Tyler clinical specialist who will work in the unit, said she is looking forward to helping others.
“I am deeply passionate about this,” she said in noting that patients will include those who are going without care.
Pat Evans, chief strategy officer with Special Health Resources for Texas, said collaboration “is at the heart of what we are trying to accomplish. ... There is a real need to make health resources available. This will allow us to help communities.”
The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration awarded the university a grant that funded the clinic, according to information from the university.
Dr. Yong “Tai” Wang, dean of the UT Tyler College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said that by working in the clinic, nursing students will receive needed experience.
The students also will help connect patients to additional health and mental health services, he said.
The clinic will be put into service later this month in New Summerfield, one of the communities identified as underserved, he said.
UT Tyler President Dr. Michael Tidwell said the clinic is part of the university’s ongoing 100 Communities initiative.
The university launched the initiative last year to find ways to improve life in the region.
“We care deeply about the 2 million people who reside in East Texas,” Tidwell said.
He said the university’s leaders are “literally getting on the road” to solve community problems.
Many who have been involved in the project attended the news conference held under a tent in front of the clinic.
Those in attendance also had a chance to tour the clinic on wheels.