WVSOM launches healthcare program for rural communities

LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) – Residents of Greenbrier County will now be able to enjoy free transportation to get to medical appointments and be more easily tested for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

This major community program is the result of a partnership between the Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH) at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), the Mountain Transit Authority (MTA), and the Greenbrier County Health Department. The program was made possible by a $495,000 Rural Health Disparities Grant from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Office of Public Health.

The grant allows the partners to provide non-emergency medical transportation to county residents and operate a mobile testing unit. Services are available now and will continue until April 15, 2023.

Barbara Holt, executive director of CRCH, said she was grateful the grant allowed the center to partner with other organizations in the area to achieve these goals.

“We are excited about the opportunities the grant will bring. Residents of Greenbrier County will have access to free transportation for non-emergency medical appointments. We realize that it is sometimes difficult for people to have someone available to take them to and from an appointment, and we hope this will help alleviate scheduling and transportation issues. Additionally, the mobile testing unit will allow medical personnel to conduct house calls in remote areas. While positive COVID-19 cases in the county are trending down, it’s still important to get vaccinated if you haven’t had a chance, or get tested if you’re sick.

Barbara Holt, Executive Director of CRCH

Nikki Dolan, RN, director of nursing/health department administrator, said she expects the partnerships with WVSOM and GCEAS to play a vital role in improving the health of county residents. Greenbrier. identify areas for improvement needed.

Nikki Dolan, RN, Director of Nursing/Health Department Administrator

Through the program, WVSOM will schedule free rides to medical appointments for Greenbrier County residents using MTA vehicles. MTA is a public transportation service that operates in Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Pocahontas, and Webster counties.

To qualify for transportation, residents must be at least 18 years of age or be accompanied by a legal guardian. Accommodations will be made for people with special needs, such as a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

Any Greenbrier County residents who need transportation to get to an appointment can call 304-793-6588 and speak to a WVSOM employee.

MTA chief executive Tim Thomas said the organization was excited to participate in the program.

“One of the most important things transit can do for a community is to make it healthier,” Thomas said. “Mountain Transit Authority already serves areas like Lewisburg and White Sulfur Springs, but with this program we will also help meet the needs of residents in western Greenbrier County. We welcome the opportunity to improve the quality of life in these regions.

MTA chief executive Tim Thomas said the organization was excited to participate in the program.

The grant also provides funding for the Greenbrier County Health Department to have a vehicle for use as a mobile testing unit. The Greenbrier County Emergency Ambulance Service (GCEAS) will work under the direction of the health department to fulfill this portion of the grant.

Wes Hylton, administrator of GCEAS, said those unable to move around and wanting to request the mobile testing unit can call 304-645-2252. A paramedic will come to the caller’s home to perform a rapid COVID-19 test and record the patient’s blood pressure, temperature and blood oxygen level.

“We will try to provide COVID-19 test results on site, and we anticipate it will take approximately 17 minutes to get the results. But if we have, say, five calls and five visits to make, we may need to let the tests run from one call while we move on to the next, and in those cases we can provide the results via text, e -mail or telephone. ”

Wes Hylton, GCEAS Administrator

Finally, the grant will provide the health department with new laptops and employ staff to digitize department clinic patient records, starting with patients most vulnerable to COVID-19 due to under-reported health conditions. underlyings.

About Keneth T. Graves

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