HCN News & Notes

Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative Announces Mobile Health Unit

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative (BFHC), a MassHealth accountable-care organization (ACO) partnership plan, announced the launch of a new, state-of-the-art mobile health unit (MHU) that will travel throughout Berkshire County, increasing outreach and bringing healthcare directly to patients.

“One of the advantages of the ACO model of care is that we are afforded the flexibility to be creative in addressing the needs of the populations we serve. The mobile health unit will be a great asset to the communities in Berkshire County as it complements our combined commitment to reduce fragmented care, improve health outcomes, and contain costs,” said Richard Burke, president and CEO of Fallon Health.

Unveiled during a ceremony at CHP Community Health Center in Great Barrington, the 40-foot vehicle contains two full exam rooms, an intake area, and a bathroom. It will be staffed by a coordinator, nurse practitioner, and medical assistant and will offer a variety of services, including primary care, sick visits, preventive health screenings, ophthalmology, and social services.

“Living in the Berkshires offers a multitude of benefits, including stunning physical beauty, world-class art, and the pleasures of country life. It also offers healthcare challenges unique to a rural environment. Transportation is among the top challenges we face in the county, which is why we are making it a priority to bring care to the patients, instead of having the patients come to us,” said David Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems, noting that mobile clinics are making healthcare accessible for some of the most difficult-to-reach groups in both rural and urban communities in the country, according to a recent report by Harvard Medical School.

Patients with MassHealth ACO Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative insurance will be able to schedule appointments at the MHU’s location ahead of time through the Community Health Programs (CHP) electronic medical record system, or with a walk-in visit. Dates and locations for the MHU will also be available via an online calendar, social media, and local newspapers, and each CHP practice will have access to the schedule. The hours of operation will vary to fit the needs of the community, and may include evenings, early mornings, and weekends.

MHU staff will also provide basic care, including blood-pressure checks, flu-shot clinics, immunization clinics, vision screenings, and screenings for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. The unit will also offer social services through such organizations as the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) nutrition program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), fuel assistance, and licensed social workers.

“The Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative mobile health unit is unique in that it offers such a broad range of healthcare and social services at accessible locations and times for the community,” said Lia Spiliotes, CEO of Community Health Programs. “Our community members deserve to have a high level of care no matter what ZIP code they are in. And under this innovative model, they can. Community Health Programs is pleased to be part of this important effort that will surely improve the lives of many of our neighbors.”