Mobile Health Clinics Could Help Meet Increased Demand Under ACA


Health care stakeholders at the recent Mobile Health Clinics Association conference in Palm Springs were optimistic that the Affordable Care Act could boost mobile health care services, HealthyCal reports.

Background on Mobile Clinics

According to MHCA officials, there currently are about 2,000 mobile health clinics operating in the U.S.

Most mobile clinics are run by:

  • Hospitals;
  • Medical centers;
  • Public health departments;
  • Community health centers;
  • Private foundations; and
  • Faith-based organizations.

They cost about $300,000 to build and about $375,000 annually to operate, according to MHCA.

In addition to offering health care services, the clinics help residents sign up for:

  • Low-income housing;
  • Food stamps;
  • Mental health care services; and
  • Other programs.

Comments From Stakeholders

During the MHCA conference, Darien DeLorenzo -- CEO of the association -- said that mobile clinics will be necessary to meet an increased demand for care as the ACA expands health coverage.

"Because the mission of the [ACA] is very preventive-care oriented, it meets very naturally with the mission of [these] clinics," DeLorenzo said.

Mark Connelly -- COO of Borrego Health, which runs two mobile dental care clinics in Coachella Valley -- said, "Many of our clinics go to remote areas where there's not much else," adding that when people in rural areas obtain coverage under the ACA, such clinics might be their only option.

According to HealthyCal, mobile clinics also will continue to serve several groups that are excluded from certain ACA provisions, including:

  • Undocumented immigrants;
  • Immigrants who have been U.S. citizens for fewer than five years;
  • Individuals who cannot afford coverage, even with subsidies; and
  • Those who opt out of coverage (Potter, HealthyCal, 10/15).
Stacie Bradford
You might check the Covered California website: The Frequently Asked Questions state that those who qualify for Medi-Cal have the option of enrolling in insurance instead, and no one who currently has insurance is required to give it up. Those choices do exclude individuals from getting subsidies. It also reiterates that undocumented individuals do not quality for coverage through the Exchange. The Kaiser Family Foundation's recent poll addresses misperceptions about ACA provisions:
Carol Frandsen
Yes David, self-employed for most of my adult life and always took care of myself and family. I am very disillusioned at this point.
David Dickinson
I guess you're a working citizen, Carol, so why would you expect to be treated as well as a bum or an illegal immigrant. That's not logical thinking in this country any more.
Carol Frandsen
Great. The ACA has thrown me into Medi-Cal because it thinks I dont know how to manage my money and labels me as "poor"(even though in 20 years I have never missed my private insurance payment), disqualifying me from purchasing in the exchanges because I am too "poor" and pricing me out of "opting out" of Medi-Cal. Beautiful. After all this I will maybe get a trailer clinic because there will not be enough doctors. Fantastic. Well, I am happy for the person who gets my wonderful, doctor of 15 years---who will most likely take a subsidized exchange plan, but is not going to be taking my new Medi-Cal. You are lucky---he's a really great.

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