Norwalk’s most disadvantaged will soon have better access to healthcare with the introduction of the new Health on Wheels, or “HOW” bus. The Norwalk Community Health Center (NCHC) will formally launch the HOW bus at an outdoor healthcare marketing event on Thursday, January10th at 11:00am. In attendance will be Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia and Connecticut Department of Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen.
The bus will bring medical, dental, and counseling services to Norwalk’s homeless and those in public housing, regardless of their ability to pay. The HOW bus will begin services the week of January 7th, operating five days a week, traveling around Norwalk to Open Door Shelter and the Norwalk Housing Authority’s Washington Village complex. The bus will be staffed by physicians, nurse practitioners, a dental hygienist, and a social worker and be fully equipped with medical and dental equipment, a blood drawing station as well as NCHC’s state-of-the-art electronic medical records system. The bus was made possible by a $525,000 federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
NCHC CEO Lawrence Cross says getting this off the ground was a collaborative effort. “We worked closely with the Open Door Shelter, Norwalk Housing Authority, and Liberation Programs, a Norwalk-based substance abuse, and behavioral health treatment center, to get the federal grant and will be continuing our partnership to make sure that the homeless and low-income people can easily access the medical, dental and counseling services they need. We estimate that this medical bus could provide health services to an additional 2,500 people in Norwalk who now struggle to get to healthcare.”
David Stayner, Ph.D., assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, helped put the NCHC mobile medical care program in place. He says that a mobile medical center like this offering a full range of services is unique in the country. “Including a full complement of care from medical to dental to counseling is the best-known model for working with the homeless and marginalized who have many roadblocks to getting proper care. The Norwalk Community Health Center’s mobile bus will truly be a one-of-a-kind resource.”
The Norwalk Community Health Center is an independent Federally Qualified Health Center funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The Center offers a full range of primary care medical services to any Norwalk resident regardless of ability to pay, including Pediatrics, Adult Medicine, OB/GYN, and specialty care in Endocrinology and Infectious Disease. Its medical staff consists of board-certified or board-eligible physicians, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse-midwives. The Norwalk Community Health Center is located at 120 Connecticut Avenue and is open by appointment Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings. For more information visit www.norwalkchc.org or call (203) 899-1770.