How Hospitals Keep Patients Out of the Emergency Room

Innovative mobile health programs bring free care right to where people live and work, helping to detect health conditions before they become serious.

Hospitals and the heroes within them provide excellent care to their patients. But what can they do to keep patients from needing emergency room care in the first place?

Receiving routine medical care, like checkups and blood tests, is essential to detecting health conditions before they become serious. Yet there are many barriers, like cost or lack of transportation, that prevent patients from accessing this type of care. This means that too often people end up in the hospital, needing emergency care. This is more expensive for the patient and, more importantly, a less effective way of staying healthy.

Hospitals like Southcoast Health are removing these barriers by bringing free medical care to those who need it most — like seniors, teens, families, and the homeless. Their Wellness Van brings a range of preventive care services right where people live and work — including vaccinations and nutrition information, as well as routine screenings for diabetes, blood pressure, and even cancer. Even more amazing? You don’t need insurance to take advantage of these services.

Antonio Brito, a welder on fishing boats, is one of the community members who appreciates this service. He was worried when he started experiencing voice issues and neck pain, and decided to take a trip to the Wellness Van.

“I feel so happy because I work a lot and don’t have a chance to go to the doctor, so this is important,” he says.

The Southcoast Wellness Van has been helping its community stay healthy for two decades, serving about 4,000 patients per year. Learn more in South Coast Today and Southcoast.org.