GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The CHP Berkshires Mobile Health Team is bringing more health care and food security to Berkshires with the addition of two new mobile health vehicles.
A third, a mobile dental clinic, is on the way.
These new rolling health care vehicles and their clinical staff were introduced on Thursday, Aug. 10, 5-7 p.m., at the Southern Berkshire Chamber After Hours Event at Crissey Farm, hosted by CHP Berkshires. Guests toured the vans, talked with staff, and learned about the importance of mobile health.
This year, CHP’s old 2002 mobile health van was finally retired. In 2019, CHP partnered with Berkshire-Fallon (the Berkshires’ MassHealth program) to bring a large mobile health van.
These additional new vehicles are owned by CHP, and they are smaller and more agile for out-of-the-way destinations and winter roads.
CHP’s mobile health units are among 5,000 on the road throughout the U.S. CHP has been on the road since 1975 caring for adults and children in more remote regions of the Berkshires. In the spring, CHP’s Mobile Health team received a leadership award from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Association.
The three new mobile units were funded with federal and state grants; the new “mobile farm stand” van operates in partnership with Berkshire Bounty, the state Department of Agriculture and MassHealth.
“Our Mobile Health units are essentially one of CHP’s many practice locations – but they go places where people work, play and gather,” said Michelle Derr, CHP’s senior VP of Family Services and Mobile Health. “The logistics are complex, but we have just the right mix of staff to make an impact on wheels.”
For this program, MassHealth pays Berkshire region farmers to grow food; CHP collects and delivers the bounty each week to its five practice lobbies between North Adams and Great Barrington. Patients are free to grab a bag of fresh food, no questions asked, when they show up for a medical or dental appointment.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, CHP’s mobile health operation was on the road continuously with vaccines, boosters and other health services. This work of providing vaccines, boosters and other preventive care will carry on, along with minor sick visits.