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Mobile Health Clinics Could Help Meet Increased Demand Under ACA

Health care stakeholders at the recent Mobile Health Clinics Association conference in Palm Springs were optimistic that the Affordable Care Act could boost mobile health care services, HealthyCal reports.

Background on Mobile Clinics

According to MHCA officials, there currently are about 2,000 mobile health clinics operating in the U.S.

Most mobile clinics are run by:

  • Hospitals;
  • Medical centers;
  • Public health departments;
  • Community health centers;
  • Private foundations; and
  • Faith-based organizations.

They cost about $300,000 to build and about $375,000 annually to operate, according to MHCA.

In addition to offering health care services, the clinics help residents sign up for:

  • Low-income housing;
  • Food stamps;
  • Mental health care services; and
  • Other programs.

Comments From Stakeholders

During the MHCA conference, Darien DeLorenzo -- CEO of the association -- said that mobile clinics will be necessary to meet an increased demand for care as the ACA expands health coverage.

"Because the mission of the [ACA] is very preventive-care oriented, it meets very naturally with the mission of [these] clinics," DeLorenzo said.

Mark Connelly -- COO of Borrego Health, which runs two mobile dental care clinics in Coachella Valley -- said, "Many of our clinics go to remote areas where there's not much else," adding that when people in rural areas obtain coverage under the ACA, such clinics might be their only option.

According to HealthyCal, mobile clinics also will continue to serve several groups that are excluded from certain ACA provisions, including:

  • Undocumented immigrants;
  • Immigrants who have been U.S. citizens for fewer than five years;
  • Individuals who cannot afford coverage, even with subsidies; and
  • Those who opt out of coverage (Potter, HealthyCal, 10/15).
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