CalOptima Health is working with Healthcare in Action along with city and county officials to fund the $4 million pilot program.
GARDEN GROVE (KABC) -- A first-of-its-kind mobile clinic in Orange County is ready to hit the streets of Garden Grove to help those who need it most.
CalOptima Health is working with Healthcare in Action along with city and county officials to fund the $4 million pilot program in Garden Grove.
"What we try to do is take a very preventative approach," said Healthcare in Action Director of Clinical Operations Benjamin Kaska. "Go out, canvas the area, interact with the folks that are experiencing homelessness and care for our unhoused neighbors from start to finish."
Kaska said the program will offer primary care and behavioral health services to people experiencing homelessness in the city.
"You'll have addiction. You will have mental health issues. You'll have chronic wounds. You'll also have the same kind of things that every one else experiences, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, coughs and colds," Kaska said.
In addition, Orange County Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento called it "a doctor's office on wheels."
"It will bring care and it'll bring that professional level of service that we all receive with our own physicians," he said.
Robert Horner, the physician assistant for Healthcare in Action's Garden Grove team, said so far, they've encountered people with problems that, if left untreated, can become worse and lead to bigger health issues or death.
"So asthma for one," Horner said. "There was one gentleman with scoliosis that had been recently hit by a car so was having some back pains too. We had another one that has some cellulitis with an infection on his leg that he's been seen with at the local hospitals already and on antibiotics for. These are all patients that need follow-up."
Healthcare in Action expects to help between 8 and 15 patients each day.
Horner said building trust is the key to program's success.
"They may see say 'no' three or four times and then they see us helping the community and we build that trust over time," he said.
CalOptima Health hopes the success of the street medicine program will help it expand to other communities in Orange County in the near future.