Pictured above: Ren Hartung, president of the Covered Bridge Healthcare Board of Directors, presents a plaque to Jeff Kuhl, owner of Michiana Millworks, in appreciation of their donating a customized truck as a mobile medical unit. Also pictured are Rick Shaffer, Covered Bridge Healthcare CEO, and Josh Kuhl and James Kuhl of Michiana Millworks.
Covered Bridge Healthcare in Centreville will soon greatly expand its outreach to the community through a specially customized mobile medical unit.
“We’re looking forward to delivering healthcare on site to people who don’t have transportation,” CEO Rick Shaffer said of the new Mobile Health Clinic.
Covered Bridge Healthcare took possession of the unit, donated by Michiana Millworks, on Friday, May 1.
Michiana Millworks owner Jeff Kuhl “stepped up when COVID came,” Covered Bridge Healthcare board president Ren Hartung said. “We had a challenge with testing people for the virus without bringing them indoors.”
Kuhl was looking for a way to use his skills to help during the pandemic, and he found it creating mobile medical units.
LifeCare Ambulance had donated a chassis for which Michiana was building a new body, but Kuhl realized that if he used a new truck, it would be ready more quickly.
“They needed it now,” he said.
So he purchased a brand new truck for the project.
“The timing worked out great,” he added.
When more efficient COVID-19 testing becomes available, the mobile unit will offer that service.
Michiana Millworks will retrofit the LifeCare vehicle in the future, providing Covered Bridge Healthcare with a second mobile unit.
Plans for a clinic on wheels began to take shape about a year and a half ago, as staff and board members brainstormed how to provide healthcare in different parts of the county.
One area to which they will deliver services is the Amish community. They have identified a home care program that will utilize the mobile unit.
Twice a week Covered Bridge Healthcare personnel have been visiting the Twin County Community Probation Center in Three Rivers; as the Center’s medical space is limited, the mobile unit will provide more room.
It also will park weekly at First Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers, where Covered Bridge Healthcare offers free health screenings in partnership with the United Community Assistance Program.
Shaffer is in discussion with St. Joseph County Commission on Aging executive director Tim Stoll about setting up sessions at the senior centers in Sturgis and Three Rivers.
He also plans to reach out to major local agricultural producers about delivering healthcare to migrant workers in the fields.
“The uniqueness of this sort of healthcare – from a national standpoint, this is the upcoming way of service delivery,” Shaffer said, noting that it will expand their reach tremendously.
The brick and mortar facility has a goal of serving at least 4,000 patients per year; the Mobile Health Clinic will have a goal of serving at least 2,000 patients in that same time frame.
Funding for the program comes from HRSA, the Health Resources and Services Administration. The mobile unit will be under the scope of Covered Bridge Healthcare’s grant, but has its own individuality.