“THE DOCTOR SPOT? WHAT’S A DOCTOR SPOT?”
When kids can’t go to the doctor, they can go to The Doctor Spot.
That’s the idea behind The Doctor Spot, a mobile pediatric clinic providing basic medical services for kids in some of Dallas County’s most medically underserved neighborhoods.
The clinic will travel around the Dallas area to strategic sites such as elementary schools. The goal is to provide care on a routine basis in order to keep our community in good health.
The clinic will be staffed with a Nurse Practitioner and a Medical Assistant. It will offer sick checks and preventive care, including immunizations, athletic exams and obesity screenings–the services that kids need to be healthy and thrive both at home and in the classroom.
Mobile pediatric clinics are already proven to be successful in communities around the country, including Memphis, Miami, Houston and San Antonio.
THE NEED IS REAL AND URGENT
There’s no doctor nearby, much less one who will see a child without insurance even if the child is enrolled in Medicaid. Texas has chosen not to expand Medicaid, so finding a doctor is still a difficult task.
Dallas County is home to approximately 675,000 children. Of those, 24.9% live below the federal poverty level. Most of these children end up in a hospital ER, resulting in added costs to everyone.
Sadly, these children face additional dangers, too. Since the year 2000, infant mortality has increased by 35% in Dallas County. One-fourth of 2-year-olds have not been properly vaccinated. The Center for Disease Control studies show that just providing common childhood vaccines prevents more than 14 million cases of disease, 35,000 deaths and saves $10 billion per year nationally.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT, NOT JUST A BAND-AID
So, what sort of financial impact can we expect from The Doctor Spot?
Our best benchmark is a 2008 study of a mobile health clinic–sponsored by Harvard–using 20-years’ worth of data. In terms of estimated emergency room cost savings, the study put the ROI at 14:1. In other words, that’s $14 worth of public health value for every $1 spent–an impressive return to Dallas County tax payers.
GETTING OFF THE DIME, GETTING ON THE SPOT
We’re asking for commitments of time and talent from local medical professionals. And financial support from the community at large. Together, we can change the alarming course of children’s health in our community. We want to deliver quality, accessible health care where it is most needed.
“Park it and they will come.” It has worked elsewhere and it will work here–shrinking the gaps in care by increasing the number of children receiving preventive treatment.
Can we count on you to get on board?
Chandra Smith, APRN, CPNP has been in practice since 2008, and practiced nursing in pediatrics for 8 years prior. She received her undergraduate nursing degree at University of Arkansas, and her graduate Nurse Practitioner degree at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and has specialized training in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, as well as Child Neurology. She holds a special interest in preventive healthcare and obesity education. Chandra, her husband (Lawrence, RN), and twin teenagers (Trevon and Alaya), reside in Rockwall. In their spare time, they enjoy fishing, camping, boating, exploring, hunting, and watching their children play football and swim.