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MHCA - 2013 ANNUAL REPORTClick here for the pdf

Dear MHCA Members and Colleagues:

MHCA witnessed exciting progress in 2013. We were honored to elect the following members to the Board of Directors: Anthony Vavasis, MD (Board Chair); Madge Vasquez, MPAff (Vice Chair); James Comeaux, LCSW (President); and Beth Merchant, MBA (Secretary/Treasurer). Additional board members are Susan Finn, RN; George Hayes, NCPT; Susan Kraenzle, RN; Capi Landreneau, LCSW; Paul Schulz, DDS; and Connie Vavricek. To learn more about the board members, Click Here.

Throughout the year, MHCA engaged in strategic initiatives designed to serve our members nationwide and meet the primary mission of our association - To Promote and Serve the Mobile Healthcare Sector through Advocacy, Education and Research in Order to Increase Access to Care for All.

Following are brief highlights from 2013:

Membership: The association continued its steady growth, ending the year with nearly 300 members. Geographically, MHCA represents 45 U.S. states plus a growing international membership representing four Canadian provinces, China, Guam, Saipan, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and South Africa. An expanded membership allows MHCA to pursue new collaborations, activities, and advocacy initiatives on behalf of the greater mobile healthcare sector.

MHCA Website: A 9% increase in viewers to 26,600 (2,216 per month) in 12 months - evidence of a growing interest in mobile healthcare and enhanced awareness of its potential as an essential component for increasing access to quality healthcare. The website serves as MHCA's primary forum of communication among its membership and to the public at-large.

MHCA Coalitions: Expanded to nine affiliated Regional Mobile Health Clinics Coalitions in - Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, New York City, North Carolina, Northern California, and Southern California, Texas, and Upper Mid-West (IA, MN, ND, SD, WI). Plans are under way to add three more in 2014 - Georgia, Pacific Northwest, and a nationwide coalition of organizations serving Native American populations. Coalition coordinators and meeting dates are posted on the MHCA website.

Mobile Mammography SIG: A Mobile Mammography Leadership Team, comprised of MHCA members, was established to assist providers with questions about operating a mobile mammography program. The team created a resource page for the MHCA website with detailed guidelines for operations.

Emergency Response: MHCA continued its commitment to emergency preparedness by presenting at the 2013 Annual Forum a general session on Emergency Management: Stories of Disaster Responses. We encourage all MHCA members and coalitions to explore how they are prepared for emergency response in their respective communities and collaborate with community partners

Annual Forum 2013: With a record 250 attendees, the conference continues to grow in stature and number of attendees - from 34 states and five from outside the US. Attendees participated in training courses, workshops and mentoring sessions presented by over 40 speakers. Featured general sessions focused on strategies for marketing and social media, building innovative partnerships, emergency/crisis management, and preparing for healthcare reform. For a more hands on experience, eight health specialty vehicles were on display to tour and learn more about the latest technology in building a mobile clinic.

MHCA members welcomed two outstanding "champions" of mobile healthcare opening the 2013 Annual Forum - Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD from the California 36th District and Olga Carrillo, former client of COACH for Kids at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Both speakers spoke passionately about their past history with mobile clinics - Congressman Ruiz working on The Family Van as a student at Harvard Medical School and Olga as a client seeking urgent care for her infant daughter. Each made a commitment to continue their support for the vital services being provided by mobile health clinics for underserved peoples and explore ways for collaborating with MHCA in the future. In Olga's own inspirational words - "Hope (for a brighter future) is the only thing you"ve got when you are at your lowest. (In sharing my story) I want to bring hope to the hopeless." Olga's journey from homelessness to her current endeavors in healthcare and academics was a wonderful reminder to everyone at the Forum of why we (in mobile healthcare) are dedicated to our work regardless of limited funding and staff, challenging weather conditions, or logistical hurdles. Serving those most in need and helping them to walk a healthy path - it's what we do.

Advocacy and Partnerships

Government Legislation: MHCA continued to work with federal representatives to support legislation relative to mobile healthcare. Letters were sent by MHCA and individual members supporting the Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2013 introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). The bill (S.1522 and H.R. 3120) expands National health Services Corps scholarships and authorizes funding for mobile dental clinics.

Mobile Health Map: MHCA continued its partnership with Harvard Medical School in building The Map - over 600 mobile health clinics listed on the Map report an average 3,000 plus number of visits/year/clinic. The Map also reports an average mobile clinic ROI of 1:19 (estimated value of prevention services in terms of dollars invested vs value returned). MHCA member are all included on the Map.

Policy makers, providers, payers and other stakeholders are unaware of the value mobile clinics provide although federal agencies have funded the work of over 400 mobile clinics nationwide. This challenges many organizations with mobile programs to advocate for inclusion in our established healthcare system and receive reimbursement for services.

As exampled by the CDC, HHS agencies, and the MA State Dept of Public Health, states, counties and cities across the country recognize community members need to be served in both clinical and community settings - that mobile clinics provide vital outreach linkages and complement clinical services provided by their partners, community health centers and hospitals. The Map leadership team is working with mobile healthcare programs nationwide to identify local initiatives that are working on this issue and assisting them with advocacy efforts in their communities.

The year ahead holds great promise for MHCA as mobile health clinics nationwide continue to increase in numbers. Our commitment and challenge is to serve the needs of this growing sector and provide added value to membership in MHCA. We invite all members to join us in an energized spirit of volunteerism, to share your expertise and ensure that our voices are heard as we continue to build awareness of the vital healthcare services delivered on our mobile health clinics.

Warmest regards,

Anthony Vavasis, MD
MHCA Chair, Board of Directors