The doctor’s here: Mobile clinics provide medical exams to veterans
Over the past 39 years, QTC Management has conducted more than eight million medical exams for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other U.S. government departments in clinics across the nation. But not all veterans are able to make their way to a clinic for an in-person examination with doctors and other health care providers — and it’s not always the best solution.
“Nobody wants to have a 92 year old veteran drive across the icy roads of Nebraska to see his doctor. It’s not very safe, and it’s certainly not convenient,” says Daniel Highland, Director of Business Operations at QTC.
To provide high quality medical evaluations for veterans who are homebound, have limited mobility, or are living in rural communities or areas with limited medical infrastructure, QTC now brings services to their doorstep.
“We saw a problem that was developing for veterans across the United States, where for various reasons, many aren’t able to get to a brick-and-mortar clinic. Or, they have to travel great distances just to visit a VHA facility,” says Larry Schaefer, QTC’s Chief Operating Officer.
“Improving service delivery for rural or disabled veterans, so that they receive the same level of service as veterans living in large metropolitan areas, is a driving factor for the VA. And one of the ways we help the VA in this is through our mobile clinics.”
Doctors on wheels
It took QTC just 14 months to turn its initial concept into reality. The company's two Mobile Medical Clinics are state-of-the-art, RV-sized doctor’s offices-on-wheels.
“The actual build of the coaches was about five months. When they were completed, we then tested all the specifications,” says Schaefer. “We made sure the sound booths met our specifications, that the coaches were ADA compliant, and so on.”
QTC rolled out its Mobile Medical Clinics (called Nomad-1 and Nomad-2) in September 2018. The climate-controlled clinics are fully equipped and feature:
- Two exam rooms
- A lab drawing station
- X-ray capability
- Certified sound booth for evaluating hearing issues
- Wheelchair lift
- Waiting room (with secure Wi-Fi)
For the past six months, the two mobile clinics have crisscrossed the entire continental United States to provide veterans with all the examination services they’d find in a permanent clinic:
- General medicine
- Mental health
- Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat)
- Laboratory services
- Cardiology evaluation services
Coming soon to a town near you
Where can a patient find a QTC Mobile Medical Clinic? More often than not, the mobile clinic will find them.
QTC identifies areas of the country in greatest need of mobile medical services based on data provided by the VA and other federal departments. Then, its staff designs routes to bring the mobile clinics to the greatest number of patients per stop. The goal is to visit as many as five towns or cities in a week.
“This is a moving, growing operation and the schedule changes from week to week. Sometimes it changes from day to day depending on the requests,” says Highland.
Typically, the mobile clinics drive to a centrally located hotel parking lot, where they set up shop, and see the scheduled appointments for all patients in the vicinity.
So how does a patient know when a QTC Mobile Medical Clinic will be in their area?
QTC reaches out directly to every patient in the area ahead of time by calling, sending emails, and even mailing a packet of information — including color pictures depicting what the mobile clinic looks like, and where to find it when it arrives. Then, QTC staff schedule appointments with every veteran who wants to visit the clinic.
, Director of Business Operations
We’re able to get to people who historically would not be able to get service. And that, in the end, is so humbling...
When there’s just no way for a patient to travel any distance at all to visit the mobile clinic, QTC staff might make alternative arrangements for examinations, including driving directly to the patient’s home or nursing facility. And if even that’s not possible, there are sometimes creative solutions.
“Once,” says QTC Program Manager Vincent Iapichino, “we had a veteran who lived in the middle of the woods in Missouri. There was a long driveway leading to his house, but it was overhung with tree branches and we couldn’t physically drive the mobile clinic to his house. So we got out, took our equipment with us, and walked up the driveway and examined our patient in his home.”
A sense of mission
Highland, Iapichino and Schaefer are more than colleagues. All three – along with many other QTC employees – are also veterans.
“Our company’s mission is incredible. When I go to our events and see all the veterans and their families show up, they're almost in tears because we're able to provide a service to them like no other,” says Highland, a 16-year Navy and Army veteran.
“We’re able to get to people who historically would not be able to get service. And that, in the end, is so humbling — as an employee of QTC, but also as a disabled veteran myself.”
Iapichino and Schaefer echo those sentiments. Both of them retired from the Air Force after serving 30 and 24 years, respectively.
“QTC’s been my only job after the Air Force and that’s because we all feel a sense of mission here. Giving back to the veterans, who in many cases have laid their lives on the line for the country, is why we stick around,” says Schaefer.
For veterans who need examinations and can't visit a traditional clinic, QTC’s mobile clinics are answering the call of duty. They and their staff will go the distance to provide the quality medical care veterans deserve. Whatever it takes, and wherever it takes them.
QTC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leidos and the largest provider of government-outsourced occupational health and disability examination services in the United States. Learn more here.
Contributing: Arin Karimian