BY MAGGIE KLEIN
KONK LIFE STAFF WRITER
What’s better than affordable health care? Not many things. But what about affordable health care that comes to you? I know, a hard concept to understand, let alone imagine. Rural Health has done it again!
The Rural Health Network of Monroe County, (“RHN”), located in Key West, is an organization that provides high-quality health care to its community, regardless of income. The services include primary health care, dental care, access to pharmaceutical needs, behavioral health referrals, and substance abuse services. More information about what they offer can be found on their website, www.rhnmc.org.
RHN offers care to all members of the community, and adjusts the fee basing it on the members ability to pay. With the health of the community at the heart of their business, RHN providers are able to grant necessary procedures to those in need that would not have been able to afford the care.
In an effort to better serve the community’s healthcare needs, the RHN recently launched a 40-foot mobile healthcare coach, to effectively deliver healthcare to the patient where they live. The exterior of the bus, as described by the designer, Elizabeth Baker, is the color of the RHN logo, has a map of The Keys on it, and is easily recognizable as belonging to the Network. The goal of the bus’s services is to have a medical unit on one end, a dental unit on the other, and a laboratory service plus a restroom and waiting area in the middle. “If people don’t want to sit in close quarters, there is a nice awning outside of the bus for people to sit in the shade and have their own space.” Elizabeth explains that the bus can also be converted to better suit the patients’ needs each day. For example, if the bus goes to a certain area one day, where the patients of said area are mostly in need of dental care, they can adjust to those needs and run dental services on both ends of the bus, rather than having dental and medical, in order to maximize the dental care being provided.
When discussing the different ways in which this launch is going to better suit the community, Baker noted, “Within the first six months there’s going to be a learning curve, just as with any business, but I think we will also learn more from the communities. My goal is to reach out to community leaders from the different islands and get a sense of what is most needed in their area, in order to provide the best, most efficient care.” Rural Health is maximizing their ability to provide the best care, with the community being the primary focus. Many people do not have access to affordable and convenient transportation, and by launching the bus, Rural Health will be able to bring their services to a broader range of people. Baker described the bus as “Concierge Healthcare”, and, well, it is![livemarket market_name="KONK Life LiveMarket" limit=3 category=“” show_signup=0 show_more=0]