PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA
TUSTIN, Calif., March 2023 – Visiting a doctor is essential to maintaining one’s health and preventing serious illnesses from occurring. Yet, each year, 3.6 million Americans do not obtain medical care due to a lack of transportation. With a reportedly higher rate of illness compared to the general U.S. population, thousands of people experiencing homelessness are unable to easily access the healthcare they so desperately need.
Ever since its founding in 2003, nonprofit community health center Families Together of Orange County (FTOC), has been dedicated to helping vulnerable communities break down barriers to accessing healthcare. In 2019, in line with the vision of the health center’s CEO, the organization launched its mobile department to help bring healthcare directly to people in the community.
The program has grown rapidly since its inception in 2019 where it offered a small array of services with up to 500 visits a month. Today, the mobile department averages 1,200 visits per month and boasts four mobile units that offer a variety of services at schools, homeless shelters, parks, shopping centers, parking lots and more. The FTOC mobile team would go on to play a significant role during the pandemic, offering tests and vaccines to people all throughout the County. Families Together mobile unit services now include vaccines, physicals, medical screenings, dental exams, vision exams and street medicine.
The core philosophy of the mobile department is to bring high-quality healthcare to those who do not have the means to acquire it themselves. Approximately 5,718 people in Orange County experienced homelessness in 2022, and 3,057 of those are unsheltered. The mobile department’s street medicine team works with community partners to ensure that all unhoused people are able to receive healthcare. Since the beginning of the street medicine program, FTOC has successfully conducted 324 medical visits with unsheltered homeless patients in the streets of Orange county offering healthcare, MAT services and medical prescriptions.
Mobile Operations Manager, Parsia Jahanbani, believes in the importance of meeting these patients’ needs halfway:
“One of our main goals with the street medicine program is to show homeless patients that they can improve their lives, and give them the means to do so. We have found that patients experiencing homelessness may feel apprehensive about going to doctor’s offices to seek medical help, so our mobile units take the services directly to them. It’s important to us that our patients are met with compassion and understanding as we work to remove the barriers that have prevented the majority of this population from accessing healthcare services.”
The mobile department has played a large role in helping FTOC achieve its goals to help underserved communities gain access to high-quality healthcare. The health center plans to extend its reach even further by adding a new mobile unit that will introduce behavioral health to the mobile department’s available services. The organization also has plans to expand the street medicine team to assist an even larger population with additional services like housing assistance and food and clothing donations.
View a video showcasing the FTOC Street Medicine Program aquí. More information on the mobile department can be found on the Families Together website under the list of servicios. Those who are interested in knowing where the mobile units will be located throughout the week can follow the organization’s social media channels: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter.
Acerca de Families Together of Orange County
Since 2003, Families Together of Orange County Community Health Center (FTOC) has proudly served the Orange County community with a myriad of health services while providing a welcoming, multi-lingual and patient -centered medical home to all. FTOC is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, FQHC look-alike, a member of the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers and the CPCA.Please visit www.facebook.com/FamiliesTogetherOC para obtener más información sobre Families Together of Orange County y las últimas actualizaciones.