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Life-saving C.O. mobile medical clinic nearing end of life

Mosaic Medical officials seek community's help to complete fund-raising

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A popular health care service for the homeless and Central Oregon veterans has gone mobile over the last few years. However, representatives with the program said their current clinic is reaching the end of its life, and they are closing in on a fundraising goal for a replacement.

In 2013, Central Oregon Veteran’s Outreach wanted to bring medical care to homeless veterans. So, they started bringing medical services directly to them, via bus.

"Veterans see other veterans that are hurting or left behind, and you kind of want to grab them and say, 'C'mon, let's see what we can do to help you,’” J.W. Terry, COVO’s executive director, said Friday. “That's been the way of the military brotherhood for hundreds of years, and we continue that."

Terry said the mobile medical care was a success, but thought it should expand. He found that if it works for veterans, it works for everybody else in the community. Seven years ago, COVO partnered with Mosaic Medical to make that possible. Together, they created the Mobile Community Clinic, or MCC.

Mosaic Medical is a Central Oregon nonprofit community health center system that provides care to people and families regardless of income or insurance status. It operates a network of 15 clinics, including the MCC.

"People all the time say, 'Thank you, you saved my life. Thank you, I would have never gone to the doctor. Thank you, I can't believe you guys are here and doing this, because no one else has been doing this for me,'" said Elaine Knobbs-Seasholtz, director of programs and development with Mosaic Medical.

"People all the time say, 'Thank you, you saved my life.'"

-Elaine Knobbs-Seasholtz, Mosaic Medical director of programs and development

The MCC travels to different warming shelters and food banks around Central Oregon to offer medical assistance to those in need.

"People can access those medical services easily,” Knobbs-Seasholtz said. “Maybe they come for medical and then they get a meal, or maybe they come for a meal and then they get medical help that they wouldn't have ever gotten before."

In the last year, officials say the MCC provided health care to more than 700 at-risk youth and homeless people.

The program is on its second van already, a 27-year-old converted RV donated by Crook County. Now, that van is reaching the end of its life. Officials said they can no longer rely on it to travel around the region.

"Especially in the middle of winter where people even, you know, things are happening out there -- frostbite, bronchitis, sickness -- and we're not able to drive our van to our sites because it's broken down, because of snow,” Knobbs-Seasholtz said.

Mosaic Medical representatives said a new van would cost around $336,000, and they are 75% of the way there. Now, they're asking for the community's help to raise the final $60,000.

"With our current mobile exam room space, (it’s) kind of tight,” said Casey Sadahiro, Mosaic Medical’s community outreach coordinator. “With the new one we'll be doubling our space, so the services we'll be able to do in here will be able to happen much more efficiently."

That means more at-risk patients can get the health care they otherwise might not have received.

To donate, visit the Mosaic Medical website or contact them directly at donate@mosaicmedical.org or 541-323-3860.

Central Oregon / Health / Top Stories

Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.

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