St. Charles mobile unit to provide health care

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 25, 2006

Katrina shows critical need for area


Staff Reporter

LULING-St. Charles Parish residents now have medical care rolling into their driveways after a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Tuesday.

St. Charles Community Health Center’s (SCCHC) new mobile medical unit is now in operation. The unit will provide health care services to the residents of St. Charles, Jefferson and Orleans parishes.

&#8220Community support has been important to the development of the programs that the center supports and has played a big role in bringing the mobile unit to St. Charles Parish,” said CEO Mike F. Keiser.

The mobile unit is a result of a collaboration of representatives from the Medical Assistance Program International (MAP), Cardinal Health Foundation and the SCCHC.

MAP’s Director of Communications, Martin Smith said, &#8220After the storm hit home, we quickly discovered that St. Charles Parish was mobilizing its health units to help meet the needs of its neighbors so MAP began working on plans to provide medicines to help SCCHC with its work. We asked Cardinal Health Foundation to help us get the mobile health unit for St. Charles Parish and for that we are grateful.”

&#8220I see where we are today from three years ago when the center was dedicated, and it is really amazing that we have accomplished so much in so little time,” said Timothy J. Vial, chairman of the board (SCCHC).

&#8220After Katrina, I saw first hand what a medical unit like this can do to help the people of the community and we are just so thankful for it, this unit just justifies the trust placed in St. Charles Community Health Center to provide us with the services we need,” said St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque.

&#8220Because so many people couldn’t reach or leave their homes after the hurricane we really saw how a mobile unit would benefit us,” Laque said.

&#8220Cardinal Health was vital in helping MAP distribute and use grants to service the community health needs in the parish,&#8220 Smith said. &#8220They deserve a lot of credit for the money and effort they put up to make this happen.”

&#8220The mobile health unit will provide many different kinds of services to the community ranging from basic health services, like immunizations and primary care services and behavioral health services to gynecological services for underprivileged and uninsured women,” Kaiser said.

The ob-gyn services are targeted to providing access to pre-natal care for Latino women, however, anyone is eligible for the service.

Kaiser explained that the mobile units are customized to fit the needs of the areas it serves. The greater New Orleans area has seen a rise in the Latino population since Katrina because these are a majority of the people that are rebuilding the area.

&#8220It is one of two built for the area after Katrina with the other one in Biloxi. We worked with the Mississippi chapter of MAP and had originally borrowed a unit in the direct aftermath of Katrina, but that unit had to be returned,” he said.

&#8220This happened because we had Katrina relief teams on the ground trying to assess the need for health and medicines in the area and who could use these resources most wisely. That’s how we came to St. Charles Health Center,” Smith said.

&#8220SCCHC has done and outstanding job servicing the health needs of our region and this mobile unit will just make it all the better,” Laque said.