Family health benefits for low-income families are now being served up on the road.
The Women Infants and Children program of the Montezuma County Health Department has purchased a Ford Transit Van and retrofitted it into a mobile health services office.
The goal is to reach those who are income-eligible for WIC but lack transportation to the main office or don’t realize they qualify for family health and nutrition benefits, said WIC educator Donna Pettingill, during a recent stop in Mancos.
Studies show that more people qualify for free or low-cost health services in the county and state than are signing up, so additional outreach is needed. The van will be dispatched weekly to area towns and neighborhoods throughout the county.
“Our goal is to reach more families,” WIC nurse Kendra Smith. “When you see the van, stop by.”
The van’s comfortable interior has the private atmosphere and design of a health office. A short interview and a few keystrokes on the computer will determine whether a person qualifies. WIC is an educational and supplemental nutrition program for pregnant women, infants and children 1-5 years old.
The mobile health office also offers health screenings and blood iron checks, infant scales and referrals, plus educational information on cooking and shopping skills, diabetes, weight management and smoking cessation.
Bags of locally grown fresh produce are also distributed to new clients from the van courtesy of the Montezuma Food Coalition.
The new WIC van and fabrication was paid for with a $62,500 grant from Colorado Health Foundation, said WIC director Delilah Mott. It is the first mobile WIC clinic in the state.
“This area is a good fit for the first trial because there is not a lot of public transportation. The goal is to sign up 70 more people to the WIC program by the end of this year,” she said. “We want to reach all of Montezuma County.”