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Mobile medical units bring resources to rural ENC communities

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 8:04 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Funding from the US department of agriculture will soon provide more access to medical resources for rural parts of eastern North Carolina.

USDA Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight participated in a Mobile Medical Unit Arrival Ceremony at Goshen Medical Center in Duplin County earlier Wednesday.

Residents in the county say receiving healthcare for family poses challenges in rural communities.

“I’m blind in one eye and partially blind in the left eye so I went without Medicaid for a while trying to fight and get my disability. So I’m like alright where can I go? My money is low. I don’t have any money so I’m like alright. I just got to go to the hospital if I need a checkup which is killing my bills,” said Duplin County resident Jason Lanier

Health care experts say lack of access to resources can often prevent community members from seeking health care in rural communities.

“There might be a father who works at the plant who is offered a simple healthcare package, but he can’t afford it on a $10, $11, $12 an hour salary. He can’t afford to buy insurance for the rest of the family. So you have partly insured families. You get a lot of uninsured workers and what they do for healthcare?,” said Goshen Medical Center CEO Greg Bounds.

The USDA provided $706,000 in loans and grants to purchase eight medical mobile units.

The mobile units will operate in the field and will provide services such as screening for symptoms, rapid testing, health education, and prevention.

“Rural America is not interested in being equal to metropolitan areas. But they don’t want the less than to be zero. They don’t want the zero to be no health care and what we’re trying to do in rural America, equitable access to needed services or what have you, maintain that quality of life that they’re used to but at the same time have all the amenities that they need right there at their fingertips,” said North Carolina Rural Development Director Reginald Speight.

Goshen Medical Center says the eight mobile units will cater to the 13 counties where they provide care throughout North Carolina.

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