Residents who live near the Port of Long Beach and its transportation corridors will be able to breathe a little easier as part of St. Mary Hospital’s new Breathe Easy Mobile Outreach program, which will provide asthma treatment and respiratory diagnostic services to individuals of all ages starting in April.
The vehicle was unveiled at a March 1 christening ceremony that included opening remarks from Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners Susan E. Anderson Wise, St. Mary Medical Center CEO Gail Daly and President of the St. Mary Center Foundation Drew Gagner, and a prayer and blessing led by Area Roman Catholic Bishop Oscar Solis.
“The new vehicle is another example of the excellent service that St. Mary’s provides to our community,” Foster said. “It really is about a vision for the future that both these great partners are executing for the city.”
The 38-foot custom mobile care clinic was made possible through an $834,000 grant from the Port of Long Beach as part of its Port grant programs, which offer funds for projects in the local area to address the health effects of Port operations. The clinic will provide services to patients from at least 20 senior-housing facilities, schools, or community centers in the Mitigation Grant zones 1a and 2a.
Wise said the program would help reduce the effects of air pollution in the communities closest to the Port. “It’s important that we do this at the same time that we do what we’re also doing as fast and as best we can, which is to reduce emissions and to eliminate emissions at the source,” she said. “It’s actually fun to come away from the Port and into the community to find something that’s really going to help people in the community.”
In addition to services and treatment, Daly described the program as a way of educating the community about the prevention of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and decreasing the burden of asthma. “Health care is changing, as we all know too well,” she said, “and access to care has been a burden to many, and to have a clinic that is convenient, accessible and, most of all, personal is just what this community needs.”
When the mobile clinic embarks on its daily trips next month, it will be fully equipped with respiratory diagnostic equipment, solar panels, computer hardware and software, including an electronic medical health record program, a multifunctional printer and telephone systems to facilitate storing and tracking of patient data and outcomes.
The clinic will be out in the community four days out of the week and at certain public events to provide education outreach and other services. The seven-member staff will visit five senior facilities next month to kick off the program goal of providing more than 22,000 units of service to the community over a period of 12 months.
The mobile clinic program is currently conducting an outreach campaign to advise residents in the specified service zones of the clinic’s services and support.
St. Mary Medical Center, founded in 1923 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, ranks in the top five percent for Emergency Medicine Excellence.