Mobile health unit treats patients in New River Valley

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Reaching as many patients as they can, a mobile health unit is on the road in the New River Valley.

"We have a fully functioning exam room with an exam table, so we can do minor procedures," said Noelle Bissell, director of the New River Health District for the Virginia Department of Health. 

It drives across five localities: Floyd, Montgomery, Pulaski and Giles counties and the city of Radford, to provide medical services. 

"We have started using it for sexually transmitted infection outreach, some immunization and health fair outreach," said Bissell. 

The unit was purchased last year and was transformed for their needs. 

Bissell said it provides better access to services, especially for those people with transportation issues. 

"There are a lot of families in our area that may not have a vehicle and they don't have access to public transportation. For instance, rural Giles, rural Floyd, they don't have public transportation," said  Bissell. 

Bissell eventually wants the unit to become a full service mobile health department. Right now people are still getting used to the idea of a medical facility on wheels. 

"Each time we take the bus out we get more interest and we get more questions and we get more people asking about it," said Bissell. 
The unit will be out in each locality this spring for Public Health Week and for the middle school vaccine clinics.