Author(s): Murphy DC, Klinghoffer I
The decision to provide health care services with a mobile van is one which educational and service facilities are increasingly pursuing. The benefits include: The potential to increase the availability of services to underserved populations where access to care is perceived to be one reason for underuse of available services. The opportunity to increase and broaden the educational experiences of students in a training program. The opportunity to develop a sense of social responsibility in the health care provider. The process of deciding to pursue a van purchase is complicated, and administrators may best be served by obtaining experienced consultants to help them fully comprehend the issues involved. After the decision to purchase a mobile unit is made, it is necessary to focus on van requirements and design to meet federal, state, and city codes concerning motor vehicles and health requirements. Some modifications of one's standard practices are needed because of these codes. Being aware of them in advance will allow a smooth project completion. This article provides information about some of the steps required to implement a mobile unit. The approximate time from initial concept to van delivery was 1 year, with one fully dedicated project coordinator working to assure the project's success in such a short time frame. Seeing the gratified personnel and students who serve the children on the "Smiling Faces, Going Places" Mobile Dental Van of the NYUCD (see Figure 2), and knowing the children would otherwise not have received such services, allows the health care professionals involved to feel the development of this van is an exciting mechanism for delivery of health care to individuals who would otherwise go without.