HSC Pediatric Mobile Clinic: Well-Child Exams Are Just the Beginning

Dr. Christina Robinson preforms eye exam on young boyMany Tarrant County residents recognize the colorful HSC Pediatric Mobile Clinic, but don’t realize all the services it provides. The PMC provides acute care, physicals, vaccinations and more at no charge to the patients and their families.

A pediatric office on wheels, the mobile unit visits locations that are at least two bus stops away from any other primary care locations in Tarrant County to ensure all families have access to care.

“In other clinics, the patients may be from the same demographic we see with the mobile clinic, but it is limited to those who can walk to the clinic from their house,” nurse practitioner Mandy Mendez said. “What I like about the mobile clinic is that it isn’t limited to a location, and those patients can come to us. The more places we can go, the more availability there is for kids who don’t have a way to get to us.”

In addition to acute care for things like colds and viruses, the PMC team takes a whole health approach to each patient and works with social worker Julia Marut to connect families to extensive resources, including food banks, counseling, vision screenings, financial help for extensive health concerns and more.

“With a lot of our well-adolescents, we do a lot of counseling referrals,” Mendez said. “On the well-visit screener, the depression and anxiety screeners are almost always positive. So, we get to ask questions about if that has been treated before, if they are taking any medications, and how we can get them connected to counseling.”

While depression screenings may be flagging more young adults, nurse Connie Smith says many adolescents are still positive about the future, and counseling services help them to move forward to realize those dreams.

“There is so much hope and joy,” Smith said. “You don’t hear it on the news anymore, but when you talk to these kids, their aspirations for this world are amazing. You realize it’s a good world, and I get to contribute to that with the mobile clinic.”

Well-child exams are an opportunity to refer families to community partners for dental care as well. According to Mendez, it is common to see patients who haven’t received dental care either due to being uninsured or a lack of dental care in their home country.

“Dental falls on the back burner when you’re trying to figure out how to eat and get to work and all those kinds of things,” Mendez said. “It’s not the first thing on your mind, but it’s a big deal for kids. It may not seem like a problem until they stop eating because of dental pain.”

NP Mendez recently referred a 12-year-old uninsured patient for orthotics, with Murat connecting the family to Gill Children’s Services for assistance with payment.

“The patient had a complaint of flat feet which had been causing pain in the feet, joints, and legs resulting in discomfort when walking and playing sports,” Marut said. “The patient’s family could not afford a specialty visit or orthotics, so Gill Children’s Services is assisting with payment. Gill Children’s is an organization we use often to assist our patients in being able to access specialty care. They are amazing!”

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