Mobile Health Units

Mobile Units cater to communities which may face issues with health disparities including access to care and cost of care. Mobile Units produce significant cost savings and facilitate access to healthcare, especially in underrepresented groups. 

The SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare has been entrusted by the South  Carolina legislature to coordinate and provide technical assistance to our state’s Mobile  Health Units. The goal of this program is to coordinate statewide delivery of services in  order to 

  1. Increase access to preventative and diagnostic health care and 

  1. Reduce health inequities for rural, vulnerable, underserved, and displaced populations 

Current Initiatives

MHU Directory

The CRPH is currently compiling a directory of all South Carolina Mobile Health Unit, including the areas they serve and scope of service.  

Does your organization operate a Mobile Health Unit?

Complete our survey to make sure your work is accounted for in our report

Technical Assistance

The CRPH can offer FREE technical assistance in the form of operational, technical, or logistical guidance and consultation.

Contact us to receive assistance related to:

  • Purchasing equipment
  • Staffing
  • Maximizing reimbursements
  • Identifying target locations and partners
  • And much more!

Open Survey

 

Mobile Health Unit Enhancement Program 
This program provides support for mobile healthcare units that serve rural and underserved residents in South Carolina.

 

Calculate your Impact
This source includes resources and research pooled from over 700 mobile health clinics across the United States.
Starting a Mobile Health Clinic
This source includes resources and research pooled from over 700 mobile health clinics across the United States.

 

How to Market Your MHU
This resource provides detailed steps about how to effectively market your mobile health unit.
How to Become a Medicare Provider
This Medicare enrollment guide includes the three simple steps to become a Medicare Provider.

 

Mobile Health Unit Research Summary

Thus far, there have been 13 survey respondents and 3 interviews conducted to help gain information on the MHUs across SC. Based on the interviews and survey results, we have determined MHUs struggle with sustainability. Majority of units are funded through grants and philanthropy (Counts/frequency:  Grant (9, 69.2%), Philanthropy (7, 53.8%), University (1, 7.7%), State Agency/Appropriation (2, 15.4%), Fees/Reimbursement (5, 38.5%), Other (7, 53.8%) - Other includes: donations, grants, foundations, other organizations, award winnings, partner agencies).  There is a large demand for MHU services, but funding to purchase new equipment and units proves to be an issue due to the high cost of the units. Additionally, units face issues with staffing and staff retention. Some units require a driver who has a CDL, and some staff have issues with traveling to support these rural areas where the MHU work.

MHUs have been able to have a broad reach across the state; although, most MHUs service only one region (Counts/Frequency: Statewide (1, 7.7%), Upstate Region (3, 23.1%), Midlands Region (2, 15.4%), Pee Dee Region (3, 23.1%), Lowcountry Region (1, 7.7%), Other (4, 30.8%) - Other includes: Mccormick, Saluda, Greenwood/ Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties/ Beaufort and Jasper counties/ Waccamaw Region). Circuits for these MHUs tend to vary based on employee schedules, requests, and availability of service sites. There have been issues with continuity of MHU services, especially school- based, due to COVID-19.

The MHUs serve a variety of different patients and populations and provide diverse services. Prevention and Primary care services are most common (Counts/Frequency: Primary care (5, 38.5%), Prevention services (6, 46.2%), Specialty care (1, 7.7%), Dental care (4, 30.8%), Other (6, 46.2%) - Other includes: prenatal care, mammography, vision screenings, and COVID-19 testing). Within the primary care sector, most MHUs serve mostly adults and pediatric patients (Counts/Frequency:  Pediatrics (3, 60.0%), Adults (5, 100.0%), Geriatrics (1, 20.0%), Other (0, 0.0%)), and offer a wide range of primary care services (Counts/Frequency: Well visits (4, 80.0%), Chronic disease management (4, 80.0%), Patient education (5, 100.0%), Diagnosis/Treatment of acute and chronic illnesses (5, 100.0%), Other (0, 0.0%). Most preventative care is aimed at providing immunizations and blood tests (Counts/Frequency: Immunizations (3, 50.0%), USPSTF services (1, 16.7%), Blood tests (4, 66.7%), Other (2, 33.3%) - Other specified PAP smears, mammograms, and breast and cervical screenings). Specialty care was specified to be OBGYN services. Some of the services offered are limited due to space, type of unit, staff availability, equipment, specific grants received. The targeted populations are determined based on realized gaps in care and specific grants received.

Mobile Units cater to communities which may face issues with health disparities including access to care and cost of care. They produce significant cost savings and facilitate access to healthcare especially in underrepresented groups.  This research hopes to expand MHU across the state and help aid to access and delivery of care to rural groups.