In 1968, Dr. Herman (Arnold) Meyersburg and Dr. George Cohen were colleagues at Hillcrest Pediatric Center in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Meyersburg was a staff psychiatrist and Dr. Cohen was an attending pediatrician. Committed to the community, they volunteered their time tutoring poor children. Their parents often held jobs that did not offer health insurance, so for these families, access to healthcare just seemed out of reach. Concerned about the lack of healthcare services available to these families, the two doctors invited medical colleagues and community activists to a meeting at Dr. Meyersburg’s house to address the problem. From that meeting, MobileMed was born.
It was Dr. Meyersburg’s dream to have a mobile medical clinic but obtaining a vehicle was initially difficult. The complementary idea was for MobileMed “to go to places where local stakeholders would meet us halfway” by providing space and someone to function as the clinic registrar, thus forming collaborative partnerships with the local community. Today’s MobileMed continues to leverage this principle – both with mobile medical vans (yes, we obtained them in the past 15 years) and with our fixed sites, our clinic network is accessible to those in need and our partners enhance our outreach capacity for hard-to-reach populations.
Some 45 years later, MobileMed’s vision remains incredibly relevant, delivering accessible primary healthcare for low-income residents who might otherwise go without timely care. According to Dr. Cohen (who is still an active supporter of MobileMed), today’s MobileMed faces the same challenges it has always faced: having enough resources, be it volunteers or funding, to staff and support the general operations of the clinics. Recent years have brought new challenges and opportunities: Montgomery County’s changing demographics with most growth from immigrants, the increasing complexity of primary care, and the rising cost of treatments and medications. MobileMed’s service delivery plan and organizational competencies continue to reflect and respond to these issues.
In August, 2015, MobileMed was awarded a multi-year federal grant, designating us as an FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center). As the first FQHC based entirely in Montgomery County, we will be able to greatly expand our community impact. We look forward to the opportunity to serve more individuals in need; stimulate program development and enhance services; and extend outreach to underserved populations.
With the help of its many supporters and friends, MobileMed continues to make high quality, comprehensive, cultural competent and affordable healthcare available to the low-income residents of Montgomery County.
• MobileMed annually provides over 14,000 medical visits, serving nearly 5,000 low-income diverse individuals.
• We serve low-income, uninsured and Medicaid-enrolled residents of Montgomery County.
• We offer a network of 7 primary care clinics and 2 specialty care clinics located throughout Montgomery County in areas of greatest unmet medical need.
• Among our network of MobileMed clinics, we are open Monday through Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm.
• Three of our clinics offer walk-in services for patients who have unpredictable work schedules.
• We provide primary care and nurse case management services at three County homeless shelters.
• We have a multilingual staff of ~35, plus 75 volunteer clinicians. Languages include Spanish, French, Amharic, Chinese, and Farsi.
• In the latest satisfaction survey, 96% of our patients reported that they were treated respectfully and efficiently.
• Our hospital partners Adventist HealthCare (Shady Grove Adventist and Washington Adventist Hospital) and Suburban Hospital, along with their physician partners, donate substantial diagnostic lab, radiology and cardiac testing for MobileMed’s uninsured patients.
• MobileMed was recently designated a Federally Qualified Health Center, the first FQHC based entirely in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County is characterized by increasing diversity – racial, ethnic, and economic. Broad health disparities persist. Plus, even with the expansion of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), over 50,000 County residents are ineligible and remain uninsured. Clearly, there remains a strong need for MobileMed’s high-quality, culturally competent primary care services.
It is only with the generous support of our community – individuals, foundations, corporations and collaborative partners – that we are able to serve thousands of disadvantaged residents each year. In the 45 years that we have made healthcare accessible to the least fortunate, we have never turned anyone away for inability to pay.
Here are some examples of what your donation can support:
$50 – colon cancer screening for a patient
$100 – flu shots for 10 people
$250 – life-changing patient education for 25 individuals
$500 – one Women’s Clinic session
$1,000 – one week of mobile van operations
$2,500 – annual eye and foot exams for 50 diabetics
$5,000 – medical visits for 100 vulnerable patients