Chiricahua celebrates new mobile medical clinic By Dana Cole
Chiricahua celebrates new mobile medical clinic
By Dana Cole email@example.com
Apr 19, 2023
Chiricahua Community Health Centers Inc. and P3 Health Partners Inc. celebrated a new mobile medical clinic Wednesday at Chiricahua’s Benson Family Health Center.
The celebration represented the official launch of the new “doctors-office-on-wheels” unit through a ribbon cutting ceremony with state and local dignitaries, health care providers, patients and members of the community attending.
Made possible by a grant to Chiricahua through P3, the mobile clinic — named “Doyenne” — is equipped with a laboratory and electronic health record connectivity.
“We are thrilled to officially launch Doyenne, our newest mobile clinic,” said Dr. Darlene Melk, Chiricahua chief medical officer. “Here at Chiricahua, we like to name our mobile clinics so they feel like one of the family.”
Noting that Doyenne is the French title given to the most respected or prominent person in a particular field, Melk said, “Given that Doyenne will be utilized primarily to serve patients over 65, we felt that this was a very appropriate name.”
Doyenne will be joining Chiricahua’s five other medical mobile clinics and two mobile dental clinics, bringing its fleet up to eight, representing one of the largest mobile medical fleets in the state, Melk noted. The new addition will be delivering high quality care to residents throughout Cochise County.
Melk also spoke of how mobile clinic medicine is an effective way to provide targeted preventive care, especially for populations that otherwise would not have reliable access to the care needed. Melk explained Chiricahua is equipped with larger medical units that serve four groups of patients: those who live in remote communities, adolescents, patients experiencing homelessness and seasonal migrant farmworkers.
She said mobile clinics offer the added benefit of improved client-provider relationships, which she believes helps to establish patient trust.
“When our patients can trust us and know that we genuinely care about their well-being, that we actually love them, they are much more likely to seek our advice or help when they are in need.”
Doyenne enables the Chiricahua medical team to expand on this model of care, Melk said.
“We are very grateful to P3, who has shown us repeatedly that they are supportive of our efforts and strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of the most respected and prominent patients in our county.”
In his opening remarks, Dr. Jonathan Melk, Chiricahua’s Chief Executive Officer, presented background information about Chiricahua Community Health Centers, a nonprofit community health organization that provides primary care throughout Cochise County.
“We are part of the public safety net to make sure everyone has a place to go,” he said. “Our beginnings started out in a green metal shed in the community of Elfrida in 1996. From that very humble beginning of just a few employees, we are now up to almost 500 employees, more than 30,000 patients and operate 14 different sites throughout Cochise County.”
Melk also touched on how Chiricahua welcomes everyone,. “All people are welcome, regardless of who you are, where you came from, whether you have insurance and whether or not you can pay for your visit that day,” he said.
He expressed his gratitude to P3 for supporting Chiricahua with the mobile clinic donation. With one of the largest mobile medical fleets in the country, Melk said Chiricahua is able to serve Cochise County’s 6,200 square miles.
Benson Mayor Joe Konrad addressed the crowd and presented Jonathan Melk with a key to the city.
“In commemoration of five years of steady growth (at Chiricahua’s Benson facility) and the dedication of Doyenne, it is my pleasure today to recognize Chiricahua Community Health Centers as a key community partner in the city of Benson,” Konrad said. “On behalf of myself and the entire city of Benson, I want to present you with this key to the city. We look forward to your continued growth and success and thank you for what you have done to make Benson a healthier place to live.”
Melk praised the working relationship that Chiricahua and Benson Hospital share, recognizing Benson Hospital CEO Julia Strange and her staff.
“It’s not a given that when you locate two health entities together that they’re going to get along like Benson Hospital and Chiricahua do,” he said. “They are truly our health care partners and friends, all to the benefit of our patients.”
As the organization that made Doyenne possible for Chiricahua, P3 Health Partners is a physician-led health care service. Its vision is moving health care in a new direction by cultivating wellness, according to David Yarger, market president of P3 Health Partners Arizona.
“We do this by providing every patient with access to support that can help them manage their follow-up care,” he said. “This mobile clinic is another step in this new direction.”