Outreach Program Provides Free Healthcare

"A lot of what we can do is give them comfort and love and try to support them.”
Lack of insurance … language barriers … and homelessness…rank among the major reasons why countless men, women and children in central Ohio are unable to access the health care resources they need. But there is help available.

Thanks to Mount Carmel’s Community Outreach program, 13,000 such individuals benefit annually from receiving needed health care services. The Mobile Outreach Coach—a physician’s office on wheels—funded solely through federal grants and funding from Mount Carmel Foundation, plays a significant role in providing health care services to the poor and underserved.

The Mobile Coach has been traveling the streets of Columbus for 10 years:
  • Offering check-ups, immunizations, medications and more
  • Providing more than 160,000 health care services to more than 55,000 patients—20,000 of whom are homeless
“We try to visit the homeless shelters more frequently than the rest, and we tend to get the most repeat customers there,” says Dr. Jack O’Handley, Medical Director for the Outreach Program.

“The families we see at this site are homeless. They don’t have any support and their basic needs aren’t met,” says Kathy Buchen-Barbara, RN, an Outreach Program nurse. “A lot of what we can do is give them comfort and love and try to support them.”

“Mount Carmel and the Outreach program have always been there for me and my kids,” says Anita Jones, a current resident at the Center who has made multiple visits to the Coach, including taking her children there for physicals.

After 10 years of serving others, repairs and maintenance to the Coach have become more frequent and costly, and a new Coach is needed. The future of this important program depends on finding sufficient funds, estimated at nearly $300,000, to finance a new Coach and the necessary equipment needed.

“Taking Mount Carmel’s healthcare to the streets is just an extension of what Mount Carmel does daily at all its hospitals – provide excellent and compassionate care,” says Dr.O’Handley. “It is part of Mount Carmel’s mission, philosophy and history.”