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Patient numbers grow for nurses and mobile unit

SPOKANE — The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a nurse-managed mobile health and dental clinic, has completed its second full year of operations with a 37 percent increase in patient visits over the previous year. 
       
The patient goal for the year, which ended June 30, was 1,600 visits. Care Mobile nurse practitioners saw 1,723 patients, 634 more patients this year over the previous year. More than 68 percent of the new patients were children who were living in poverty.
        
“We know the Care Mobile is impacting the lives of children and youth in the Spokane area,” said Chris Riebe, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile manager. “Overall, the Care Mobile provided $173,441 of in-kind medical and dental services to children in the community.” 
       
Additionally, the Care Mobile logged 1,358 hours of volunteer hours and provided mobile services to 47 different sites in the greater Spokane area. Ten of the sites also included providing dental services for children from birth to age 21. The Care Mobile, staffed and operated by nurse practitioners from the Washington State University Intercollegiate College of Nursing, provides treatment for minor illnesses and injuries, check-ups, immunizations, sports physicals, and vision and hearing screening to children from birth to age 21. Health care services are provided at no charge. Dental services and screenings are also available at no charge.
       
The $300,000 state-of-the-art 40-foot mobile pediatric unit is equipped with two exam rooms and delivers medical and dental care directly to underserved children in their own neighborhoods, such as schools, high traffic business and not-for-profit locations, community centers and select local McDonald’s Restaurants, in connection with special events. The Care Mobile also welcomes walk-ins, although immediate openings cannot be guaranteed.
        
More than 2,883 health care and dental visits have been provided to children since the Care Mobile began operations in October 2002. Although the number of patients has grown steadily, the hope of more children being treated, consistent and expanded funding, and service region expansion is a continuing goal.
       
The Care Mobile operates year-round and includes a number of upcoming events and locations during the next several weeks leading up to the start of the school year. A complete listing of service location days and times are posted on the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Web site at www.spokanecaremobile.org. Appointments can be scheduled by phone at
(509) 324-7291.
       
“The ability to grow and expand the services of this health care outreach project that brings hope and health to the children in our community, rests with the continued support, volunteers and funding from the community,” Riebe said. “The needs are many. Financial and in-kind support for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile is one way to help us create a healthier community overall.”
       
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile is a community health care outreach service of the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing and Inland Northwest Health Services and receives support from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane, Spokane McDonald’s Restaurants and several local funding partners. The Care Mobile staff is funded in part through a 2002 Health Resources and Services Administration grant for the Basic Nurse Education and Practice Program (No. 1 D11 HP 00457).
       
Established in 1968, the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing is fully-accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The college is the nation’s oldest and most comprehensive nursing education consortium. Celebrating 37 years of world-class nursing education, the college offers baccalaureate, graduate and professional development course work to nursing students enrolled through its four consortium partners: Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, WSU and Whitworth College. Each year the college educates more than 780 graduate and upper-division undergraduate students and prepares more entry-level nurses than any other Washington state educational institution. For more information about the College of Nursing visit the Web site at http://www.nursing.wsu.edu.

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