Pamela Snead, Weimer Elementary School principal, asked FamilyCare Health Centers if it would be possible to develop a school-based health center for her school and the neighboring middle school. What began as a discussion about helping two schools morphed into serving the St. Albans school community via rolling exam rooms.
FamilyCare’s St. Albans mobile unit makes regular stops at four area schools – Weimer Elementary, Anne Bailey Elementary, McKinley Middle, and St. Albans High. The mobile unit functions similarly to an urgent care and offers additional services such as sports physicals, and vaccine administration. While a majority of patients are students, the mobile unit team also provides care to faculty and occasionally to family members.
The mobile unit has been operational since January 2022 and the need for the unit’s services is evident.
Sarah Buch, a doctor of medical science and certified physician assistant, serves not only as the unit’s medical provider, but also the driver. She has treated several children multiple times and meets new patients daily. Sarah has received positive feedback from grateful parents and school staff for the care their children/students received; care that otherwise may not be available. Many of Sarah’s patients come from struggling families who may not have transportation to take their children to medical appointments. The mobile unit provides the opportunity for up-to-date wellness checks and urgent medical issues.
The mobile unit provides services to patients who otherwise may go untreated. Sarah stated “when patients feel comfortable and trust their provider – that makes a big difference.”
Sarah also commented that she viewed the St. Albans mobile unit as an opportunity to do so much more than just provide medical care – “It’s very exciting to imagine how we might continue to grow in the next couple of years.” FamilyCare will add behavioral health services to the St. Albans mobile unit in the coming months.
FamilyCare has operated a school-based mobile unit in the Winfield, Eleanor, and Buffalo areas for many years. There is also a mobile unit serving schools in Madison and a dental mobile unit that visits schools in Putnam and Boone counties. The FamilyCare team is excited about the numerous possibilities to provide quality, compassionate care to students, faculty and families in the future.