Officials anticipate healthier residents thanks to wellmobile
Greenbelt is the latest site to have monthly aid for uninsured
Susan Whitney/The Gazette
Chantel Dit-Pincon, a Greenbelt resident since 2004, was one of many patients gathered outside the Governor's Wellmobile at Springhill Lake Elementary School on Monday, as she said she needed a physical.
"I'm glad the Wellmobile is here," said Dit-Pincon, a resident at Empirian Village, which is located just across the street from Springhill Elementary School.
One of the four Governor's Wellmobiles, which is a mobile clinic, provides free physicals, well woman exams and non-emergency room services to under and uninsured Maryland residents, will come to Greenbelt twice a month indefinitely.
"I've been very lucky and haven't had to go to the ER," said Barbara Britt, a Lanham resident who was scheduling an appointment at the Wellmobile. "With the Wellmobile here, I thought I'd take advantage of it."
Dr. Rebecca Wiseman, director of the University of Maryland School of Nursing Wellmobile Program, said Greenbelt city staffed worked hard to bring the Wellmobile to the area. The Wellmobile Program is a partnership between Gov. Martin O'Malley and the University of Maryland School of Nursing.
Christal Parker Batey, community resource advocate for Greenbelt, called the Governor's Wellmobile Program, operated by the University of Maryland's School of Nursing, to have the service focus on the Empirian Village/Springhill Elementary School area because of the high amount of poverty in the Springhill Lake area.
"We are just extremely, extremely excited," said Parker Batey. "It's sort of the beginning of a new chapter for us."
According to a pamphlet from UM's nursing school, an average Wellmobile visit costs $117 and an average emergency room visit is $450. By using the Wellmobile, patients saved the state more than $2.7 million in averted emergency room visits in fiscal 2008. Before making its way to Greenbelt, the Wellmobile was in Laurel every Monday. Now the time is split every other Monday between Laurel and Greenbelt.
"It's just really exciting, but we won't really know what impact this has for a few months, because it also promotes health awareness," Greenbelt Mayor Judith Davis said. "In the long run it's going to save patients and the state money."
An Empirian Village Community Health needs assessment was gathered last October with the help of the UM nursing school and Governor's Wellmobile and Bowie State University nursing students. The needs assessment revealed that 56 percent of respondents suffered from health problems, with 68 percent of adults and 35 percent of children being uninsured.
The Wellmobile's next visit will be at the Springhill Lake Elementary School at 9 a.m. on March 23.
Residents interested in using the Wellmobile will be able to schedule appointments by calling 410-706-0249. Walk-in appointments are also available.