Niceville, FL - Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital are introducing a new service designed to help employers and their employees gain easy access to primary care. The service will not be located in a hospital or in an office, but will be provided at the workplace in a new mobile health clinic. The mobile on-site service will be offered first to teachers and staff of the Okaloosa County School District. The first day of service is scheduled for Wednesday, September 30 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Northwood Elementary School in Crestview, FL.
Mitch Mongell, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Chief Executive Officer, says the mobile health clinic is the result of meetings with area employers and health insurance agents to determine how the hospitals can be partners in finding innovative ways to help employees stay healthy and for employers to slow down the rising costs of healthcare.
"Nearly four out of ten employees in Okaloosa and Walton Counties don't have a primary care physician," explains Mongell. "Research indicates employees who have a primary care physician and see them regularly are healthier, more productive at home and work, and have lower healthcare costs."
Mongell and David Whalen, Twin Cities Hospital Chief Executive Officer, say the mobile health clinic does not replace the existing relationship a patient may have with their primary care physician and that the main goal of the service is to connect someone who doesn't already have a primary care physician with on-site care. "Establishing on-going care with a local primary care physician is of the upmost importance," states Mongell.
"The intent is to educate the need for patients to follow-up with regular checkups with their own primary care physician. Prevention is the key," explains Whalen. "Through the mobile health clinic we can help connect patients to a primary care physician of their choice in our area."
Okaloosa County School District Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson says, "Teachers put their students and families first, sometimes to the detriment of their own healthcare. This mobile unit will greatly help our teachers take care of themselves with a minimum interruption to their classrooms."
Primary care is most often a patient's first point of entry into the health care system and as the continuing focal point for all needed health care services, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Primary care includes disease prevention, treatment of acute and chronic illnesses, health promotion, and health maintenance.
Providing primary care services in the new mobile health clinic at a business provides health care advantages for the employee and their employer. For the employee, they'll receive high quality care at their convenience; they won't have to leave work. The employer also benefits by reducing lost work time and being partners in helping to keep a healthy work force.
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tama Van Decar says the mobile health clinic will also help reduce the number of non-urgent visits to the hospitals' emergency departments. "Many patients who don't have a primary care physician often go to the emergency department for non-emergent care. In these cases, if the employee is a participant on their company's healthcare plan, it costs both the patient and their employer more. The mobile health clinic will help identify emerging health issues before they become medical emergencies."
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital are among the Hospital Corporation of America family of hospitals (HCA). Based in Nashville, Tennessee, HCA owns more than 160 hospitals and 62 surgery centers in 20 states and England.