The Mobile Medical Clinic (MMC) at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital is crossing the Bay to expand its free services to children in Pinellas County.
The arrival in Pinellas will take place October 18 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Family Center in Clearwater. Appointments are required by calling 727-442-5355.
began in 2004 with the goal of providing required immunizations for children who weren't able to receive them due to health care or financial constraints. The service was so popular and critical to the community that additional services such as physical exams were added the next year.
"We're seeking to fill the healthcare gap, especially for people who don't have health insurance,'' says Kate Kennedy, child advocate for St. Joseph's Children's Advocacy Center and the MMC's coordinator. "We strive to be a bridge to care to give families the services they need at a time and place that's convenient for them.''
The 40-foot bus is staffed with nurses, a childhood specialist, a bilingual child advocate and volunteer pediatricians. Services include: well child physicals and immunizations, developmental screenings, and education and referrals about other community programs for those who have additional needs. Children are also assessed for unintentional injury risks. In 2011, the MMC assisted just under 1,000 children in Hillsborough County, from infants to 18-year-olds.
The expansion into Pinellas County is funded by a grant from Allegany Franciscan Ministries. Future plans include taking individual services off the bus when specific needs are identified in a particular community.
Children must be 18 years old or younger to participate. Parents much accompany children and provide a current vaccine record.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Kate Kennedy, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital