LOS ANGELES: School District Launches Mobile Health Unit
"County and Los Angeles Unified School District officials gathered at Sepulveda Middle School on Friday ... to launch a new program they said would improve access to medical care for 10,000 Valley students," the Los Angeles Times reports. Designated the Mobile Clinic Outreach Program, the new initiative "will provide free basic health care to students at eight Valley schools in the Kennedy/Monroe and Grant/Van Nuys school clusters," officials said. Using a "high-tech medical van" to travel to school sites, doctors and nurses from Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and Mid-Valley Comprehensive Health Center will administer the services. A total of five vans -- each "contain[ing] two exam rooms and ... equipped to provide checkups, immunizations, lab work and a variety of other basic medical services" -- will travel to the schools at least once per week. Officials said students must schedule appointments and receive parental consent before they will be able to receive services from the mobile units.
Using Idle Resources
The county Health Department originally purchased the vans as part of "disaster-response efforts in the 1994 Northridge earthquake," but the vans "have remained idle" since, noted county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. "Using the vans in this way is a very productive way to reach thousands of kids and there is no better place to reach them than in school," he said. One mother who sends her three children to school in the Kennedy/Monroe Cluster said many families in the area lack health insurance. The new program "is very important for them to make insurance," she said. "This is very important for them to make sure their children stay healthy" (Satzman, 2/14).