The Brooklyn Hospital Center welcomed Liz Holleran, BSN, RN, Community Health Nurse to the Community and Public Affairs Committee Meeting on May 9th, 2005. Ms. Holleran gave a presentation on behalf of the Brooklyn Community Health Partners Mobile Clinic in regards to community-based care. The Brooklyn Community Health Partners is a program funded through a federal grant obtained through New York University , and run by the Division of Nursing at The Steinhardt School of Education. Ms. Holleran's presentation focused on the many methods of reducing health inconsistencies in the underserved Brooklyn communities. These methods include providing access to comprehensive primary health care services, such as mobile health clinics, offering programs for health education, and providing research that will reduce health disparities for the community. The Mobile Clinic will be obtaining funding and support from its partners at New York University College of Nursing, explained Ms. Holleran. In addition, they will be receiving $200,000 worth of funding from The Starr Foundation. They will also receive $2.3 million dollars over the next 5 years from the Health Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to Ms. Holleran, "The scope of our services will include primary care services at school and community sites, health education programs, vision and hearing screening, and Community Outreach programs. We would like to devise a community-based care program as a healthcare 'delivery system' by implementing the mobile clinics". The Clinic would also offer other primary care services, including physical exams, immunizations, pregnancy and prevention, counseling, referrals for insurance coverage and for dental services, psychosocial counseling and referral for drug and alcohol abuse assessments. Ms. Holleran explained that this system would attend to unmet needs in the community, such as reducing or eliminating barriers to healthcare, supporting low-income families and single mothers, and reducing long-term health care costs, making affordable healthcare available to all areas and demographics of the population. "This would be achieved by the coordination and integration with traditional and hospital-based clinics", explained Ms. Holleran. She also noted that there are many advantages to a community-based model: "Through its close proximity to patient's homes and children's schools, it serves patients that may otherwise not seek medical care and its presence will foster trust. It's like bringing the child to the doctor's office, only the office is parked outside your house!"
Since February 2004, the Clinic has seen over 650 patients and has received approximately 2,000 visits, with an average of seven to eight patients per service day each month. If this trend continues, notes Ms. Holleran, there will be fewer walk-ins and more patients by appointment. In addition, the benefits of community-based care include decreased ER visits, the prevention of unnecessary hospital admissions, and the elimination of barriers (which normally delay care) that will improve school attendance as a result. Ms. Holleran added, "The Brooklyn Community Health Partners visions for the future include a larger client base, increased utilization of the clinic, greater satisfaction of its clients, improved health status of its clients, and growth of health education and school screening programs. We hope that by providing accessible care to all nationalities and demographics of our community, we will improve the quality of life for our residents. Our hopes as a clinic are not only to provide primary medical and dental care to our community, but also to educate the public. We also strive for a positive impact in regards to training our nursing students through the cultural diversity that this program will provide."