A host of factors helped play a role in the decision that brought Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc., to Benson.

Need, however, outweighed all other variables and prompted the expansion into Benson, CCHCI officials explained. And it’s a service that they say been well received by the community.

CCHSI Public Relations and Media Specialist Sara Pacheco points at an increased demand for service. The mobile clinic now rolls into theProgressive Healthcare Grouplot at 300 S. Ocotillo Ave., on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Initially it was in Benson once a week, noted Pacheco, acknowledging that too could increase should need dictate a need for another increase in service.

 “We had patients who were traveling from Benson to Sierra Vista for care already,” said Pacheco. That and the possibility of a provider shortage in the San Pedro Valley due to a variety of factors, she said. “There are also a few other providers leaving the area as well,” she said. “Retirements… I know one [doctor] is on a mission… we felt it was time to bring our services here.”

Demographics also played a role in CCHCI area presence.

“Benson was an area without access to a Federally Qualified Health Care Center and there is an uninsured population in Benson in need of services,” commented Dr. Darlene Melk, Director of Community Pediatrics and the mobile program, via an CCHCI news release.“Several of the doctors in the area were unable to accept new patients with certain health plans that we do accept.”

On Friday, patients entered the 40-foot motorhome dubbed “Adel” because of its purchase from sister agency Adelante. The motorhome is outfitted as full-service medical office with two exam rooms and lab. It also boasts an impressive scenic custom Arizona landscape mural.

Jacquelyn Clemmer of Benson was there with her daughter, Emily, 8.

“This is my first time here… so far so good,” said Jacquelyn, noting she is pleased by Chiricahua’s local presence. “We recently moved here and trying to get established down here is a little difficult so the doctor recommended we come here and it seems so much more convenient.”

The mobile clinic is made possible through grant funding from the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona, and is stocked for most minor procedures. In addition to offering preventative medical care and same day/sick appointments for children and adults, CCHCI also provides: Coordination of specialty care, chronic disease management, family planning services, and insurance eligibility and application assistance.

 Health professionals have been quick to praise the level of care.

Amanda Clark, a new medical assistant on the mobile clinic and resident of Benson, had worked in family practice previously. She is now dedicated to mobile medical. “I like it because I stay busy, I do labs, injections, I get to do it all,” she said. Lisi Harris, pharmacy technician and Diabetes educator at the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy said, “I am stoked CCHCI is in town. I’m so impressed by the concern for patients,” the CCHSI news release states.

Founded in Elfrida in 1996, it has since grown to be the largest primary care organization in southeastern Arizona. Chiricahua Community Health Centers currently has seven clinics in Bisbee, Douglas, Elfrida and Sierra Vista and four mobile medical and dental units that serve rural Cochise County.