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Velázquez Seeks Health Care Services for Underserved Populations

Velázquez Seeks Health Care Services for Underserved Populations
September 27, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC –Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has introduced legislation, the Mobile Health Clinics Act of 2019, to allocate $15 million per year to health care services for underserved areas and populations.

Mobile health clinics (MHCs) are vehicle-based doctor offices and exam rooms which travel to areas most impacted by logistical and financial constraints, including marginalized urban and rural communities. According to a report prepared by Rep. Velázquez, MHCs are an essential component of a modern healthcare system, bridging gaps in health care coverage. In response, Velázquez's legislation would allocate funds for MHCs to provide primary health services, substance abuse services and mental health counseling in areas with health care shortages.

“All individuals deserve access to healthcare and mobile health clinics ensure adequate care at an affordable or free rate,” said Velázquez. “That’s why I’m proud to fight for mobile health clinics which have a well-known history of serving migrant populations, homeless populations and public housing residents, with dignity and respect.”

The report also indicates that MHCs are one of the most cost-effective health programs, with each MHC individually resulting in more than half a million dollars in avoidable emergency room visits, annually. While approximately 1,500 MHCs operate nationwide, MHCs remain severely underfunded. This lack of funding prevents the development of MHC resources, including critical staff training to provide culturally and linguistically-sensitive services.

“This legislation is an important step in eliminating health disparities between the rich and poor by making treatment, screenings, maternal care and prescription dispensing accessible to all,” said Velázquez. “I stand with our New Yorkers who’ve been denied the tools to navigate the complexities of our health care system and all Americans who are falling victim to a healthcare system that puts profit over patient. By expanding use of mobile health clinics, we can ensure New Yorkers and Americans who too often are deprived of quality healthcare – like recent immigrant communities – receive lifesaving screenings and medical treatment.”

“For over 30 years, Children’s Health Fund has leveraged mobile health clinics as an irreplaceable tool to combat the healthcare access crisis for vulnerable populations in this country,” said Dennis Walto, Chief Executive Officer at the Children’s Health Fund. “Mobile health clinics supplement the healthcare safety net by effectively targeting its gaps: medically underserved populations and areas. From urban to rural communities, they can literally deliver healthcare services and reach children and families where they live, work, and play, breaking access barriers like transportation and provider workforce shortages along the way. By expanding funding for mobile clinics, the proposed legislation will furnish communities and front-line health care providers with the tools they need to reach the last mile of care for children and families across the country. We thank Representative Nydia M. Velázquez for prioritizing the health and wellbeing of children with this proposed legislation, and our fellow co-sponsors for strengthening this effort.”