SPOKANE, Wash. — Residents of Airway Heights, Wash., can find a video
rental or convenience store on every corner. But when it comes to affordable
and accessible health care, low-income and underinsured families in this fringe
suburb of 2,000 residents have no local options short of the hospital
emergency room.

Help is on the way this week in the form of a one-day mobile health clinic
sponsored by the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education/WSU College
of Nursing, Sacred Heart Medical Center/Women’s Health Services mobile
coach, Airway Heights Community Center and Fairchild Air Force Base.

Nurses from the ICNE/CHAS Clinic, a nurse-managed clinic for low-income,
underinsured residents, will coordinate health care services and screenings for
the mobile clinic, Wednesday, March 8, from 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Airway
Heights Community Center, 13120 South Lundstrom. Women’s Health Services
will conduct mammography and skin cancer screenings. Health and fitness
experts from the Fairchild Air Force Base Health and Wellness Center, as well
as technicians from the 92nd Medical Group, will provide additional assistance
and health information.

The mobile clinic, which is open to the public, will offer immunizations; bone
density/osteoporosis, skin cancer and blood pressure screenings; cholesterol
and head lice checks; height/weight measurements; and mammography
services. The services are offered on a sliding fee basis according to the
patient’s ability to pay. Washington Basic Health coupons will be accepted.

“This mobile clinic provides an opportunity for early detection, prevention and
intervention to reduce the frequency of unnecessary emergency room visits,
which, in turn, reduces the economic strain on families and the community,”
said Loly Reyes-Gonzalez, outreach services manager at the ICNE/CHAS
Clinic.

Patients needing further evaluation or treatment may continue their care at the
ICNE/CHAS Clinic located at the YWCA, or any of the other three CHAS
clinics located throughout Spokane County.

The mobile clinic may prove to be more than a one-day-only opportunity.
“We’ll evaluate the community response and volume of patients to determine
if a quarterly program would fill a short-term need in the Airway Heights
community,” said Reyes-Gonzalez.

Nurses and students from the ICNE/WSU College of Nursing have been
studying the availability of health resources for the low-income, underinsured
population in the Airway Heights community for several months. A 1998
door-to-door survey, conducted by students in the ICNE Community Health
Nursing course, found the only viable location for health-related services was
the local hospital emergency room.

“The data we collected underscores the tremendous need for accessible,
low-income health care services within the Airway Heights community,” said
Reyes-Gonzalez.

The ICNE/WSU College of Nursing, in partnership with the Community Health
Association of Spokane (CHAS), operates the ICNE/CHAS Clinic at the
YWCA, providing families with a permanent connection to necessary,
consistent and quality health care. The clinic has already helped more than
2,500 individuals and is considered a national model for community-based
nursing health care.

Celebrating 30 years of nursing education and excellence, the ICNE/WSU
College of Nursing is based in Spokane, with multiple sites throughout
Washington state. A progressive leader in the field of nursing education and
research, the college is the nation’s first, oldest and most comprehensive
nursing education consortium.

The college is currently educating 525 graduate and undergraduate students in
professional nursing careers. Baccalaureate, graduate and professional
development courses are offered to nursing students enrolled through its four
consortium partners: Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University,
Washington State University and Whitworth College. For more information,
visit the Web site at www.icne.wsu.edu.

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