CANTON — St. Lawrence Health System will close the gap between its providers and the county’s most rural locations through the use of a new mobile clinic vehicle.
The 25-foot, $173,000 vehicle was approved for purchase by the county Board of Legislators on Monday, and will be funded by award money provided through the state Opioid Response program.
In addition to primary care, the mobile clinic will also offer counseling, telemedicine services, toxicology testing, and community education, among other services, but will especially extend the health system’s reach to those in need of treatment for opioid use disorder.
“It’s going to be a multi-use clinic,” Community Services Director Jay Ulrich said, though he noted the vehicle will not serve as a pharmacy and only select medications will be kept on board as needed.
Mr. Ulrich added that the clinic may offer immunizations, but this service will likely be delayed according to the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant vehicle includes a wheelchair lift, confidential exam rooms, reception space, a lab area, as well as cabinets and desk space for those working. The clinic will also produce its own internet signal in order to securely transmit medical information and provide telemedicine services from “some of the more remote, outlying communities,” according to the community services director.
“It’s pretty much a self-contained unit,” Mr. Ulrich said.
The mobile service will not begin immediately, as the vehicle will take roughly six months to build and deliver from Matthews Specialty Vehicles, Greensboro, N.C. Mr. Ulrich noted the lag time will be used to train and make plans with those who would be working with the vehicle.
Legislator John Burke, R-Norfolk, lauded the impending service, describing it as “a wonderful service for a county as large as ours.”
“You and your team deserve a lot of credit,” he added.