Healthcare On-the-Go




by Annie Sykes


A massive blue-and-white Winnebago pulls up to a community center in the Rio Grande Valley. At first glance, it looks like another Winter Texan’s vacation home on wheels. Looking closer, it becomes clear that this RV is different. Instead of a kitchen and sleeper beds, it has stethoscopes and blood pressure monitors. Instead of a tiki dancer on the dash, there’s the familiar logo of the Valley Care Clinics. This is no ordinary mobile home. It’s the Valley Care Clinics’ newest way to provide healthcare to Valley residents: bringing the doctor’s office to their doorsteps.

The “on-the-go” unit is a fully-operational medical station on wheels. It’s staffed with a full-time physician’s assistant, medical assistants, a rotating roster of doctors, and of course, a driver. When patients step inside the newly customized interior, they are directed to one of two examination rooms. There, they receive services identical to what they’d see at a family practice office. “It’s only been a week, and we’ve treated everything from the flu to a foot injury to high blood pressure,” says Flor, the unit’s physician’s assistant, during a January interview. The mobile care unit stays overnight in Edinburg but travels as far north as Brooks County and as far east as Cameron County. It usually parks for a whole day or half day in a location convenient to the community being served. Soon, interested patients will be able to follow the mobile unit’s location on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook

Valley Care Clinics, a multi-specialty healthcare group with offices across the Rio Grande Valley, runs the mobile care unit. “Pockets of our community are suffering from a lack of reliable, quality healthcare,” says Chris Sizemore, the Valley Care Clinics’ Market Manager. “With our on-the-go unit, we can provide primary and speciality healthcare anywhere in the Valley.” Flor, the physician’s assistant who travels daily with the unit, echoes Sizemore’s excitement. “We were in Progreso last week and we learned that the only healthcare clinic in that community had been shut down for months. We were able to treat health problems that otherwise might have been ignored for a long time.”

Valley Care Clinics have been providing care in the Rio Grande Valley since 2005. For ten years now, they’ve met the needs of a growing population by opening new offices, adding new specialties, and hiring more doctors and healthcare staff. The mobile care unit is a natural next step in this expansion. With a portable doctor’s office, the group can provide regular access to healthcare to Valley residents that lack it. “With the mobile unit, we can serve patients in Roma, Falfurrias, Edcouch, and more. Those patients will no longer have to travel long distances to be sure their health is in order,” says Sizemore.

Blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring, preventative healthcare education, psychiatry, audiology, even minor procedures and more – the Valley Care Clinics’ on-the-go unit does it all. Valley area patients are flocking for quality healthcare in convenient locations. “Within eight days of opening we had patients lining up outside the unit,” Sizemore recalls. The Valley Care Clinics team has been thrilled to have the chance to serve more Valley residents than ever before. And they don’t want to stop there – they may be adding more on-the-go units to their fleet. Keep your eyes peeled for more big blue-and-white doctors’ offices on wheels.

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