BEND, Ore. - Mosaic Medical announced Monday it will assume operations next month of the Mobile Medical Unit founded by Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (COVO) to serve the Central Oregon homeless population with much-needed medical care.
Chronic homeless individuals have an average life expectancy of only 42-52 years and illness rates of three to six times the general population, the organization said.
With Mosaic Medical as the new operating agency, these patients will now have a "medical home" that can follow-up with further medical care and support.
In April 2011, a group of COVO volunteers and community-minded medical providers saw the need for medical outreach to the Central Oregon homeless population and started the Mobile Medical Unit or "COVO Medical Van."
For the last year and a half, over 30 volunteer physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and support personnel have been conducting weekly visits to homeless camps, shelters and the Bend Community Center, where they have been serving anyone homeless or without medical resources.
The volunteers have been providing medical visits, health promotion and screening, mental health evaluations, case management, social service advocacy and housing referrals to the homeless individuals, most of whom do not have the resources to access much-needed services such as these.
Veterans with COVO have been the volunteer drivers and have obtained donations for prescriptions and supplies.
In one year, the Mobile Unit conducted over 575 patient visits and logged over 1,000 volunteer hours donated to the program.
"We approached Mosaic this summer and asked them to take over operations of the van and medical outreach program for a number of reasons," said COVO Executive Director Chuck Hemingway.
"Mosaic is dedicated to serving the most vulnerable populations in our region, including the homeless population, and has the resources and expertise to provide continuity of medical care that these individuals need," he said. "Additionally, we soon found out that a quarter of the mobile unit's patients actually had been seen at Mosaic at one time or another. "
"COVO and the Mobile Unit volunteers have built an essential service, and we are so glad that Mosaic is able to continue to meet this community need and expand the capacity of medical and social support services to the homeless population, "said Mosaic Medical CEO Megan Haase.
"We also are looking forward to continued engagement of the many, many volunteers and community partners who have put so many hours into this project and new volunteers that may want to get involved," Haase said.
"Mosaic will continue the established services of the Mobile Unit and is looking forward to growing them over the next few years. We are dedicated to meeting this community need."