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Birmingham VA launches Mobile Medical Unit

In a significant stride toward enhancing health care access for Veterans, Birmingham VA recently introduced its new Mobile Medical Unit (MMU). The unit will increase the provision of health care services to homeless Veterans and those living in remote areas across central and northern Alabama.

A clinic on wheels, the MMU will overcome transportation barriers that often hinder Veterans’ access to essential health services. It’s equipped with two exam rooms, advanced telehealth capabilities and diagnostic tools, making it a vital resource for delivering specialized care directly within the community.

Dr. Stefan Kertesz, director of the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team, emphasized the importance of outreach in addressing the health care needs of homeless Veterans. He highlighted the MMU’s role in bringing health care closer to those in need.

“The goal of the MMU is to make Birmingham VA a health care organization that makes a serious difference in the lives of homeless Veterans. We are among the first of 32 VA medical facilities with an MMU, a mobile clinic that is tailored for Veterans who are homeless or formerly homeless. This will help us bring those Veterans into care,” Kertesz explained.

“We owe them a commitment.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin acknowledged VA’s efforts in improving Veteran health care services. He recounted experiences throughout his life prior to public office and since with neighbors, friends and community members, some of whom were homeless who were also Veterans. “Those who have sacrificed, who served in the military, made a commitment to us. I believe we owe them a commitment to provide all forms of care and that includes access to health care,” Woodfin said.

Dr. Ladi Kukoyi shared his vision of strategic outreach and comprehensive care facilitated by the MMU. He described how the unit can also be used to address specific needs of those living in remote locations and during emergencies like natural disasters and pandemics.

“Care to Veterans is not limited to the buildings we are in. We are going to use the MMU to go to every nook and cranny to find every Veteran. They served us and we want to serve them. This is a strategic asset for Veterans residing in remote locations. The MMU can also be deployed during emergencies such as natural disasters, pandemics, or for rural health outreach,” said Kukoyi, executive director of Birmingham VA.

Surpassed local goal of housing unsheltered Veterans

The mobile unit launch aligns with VA’s broader goals of addressing homelessness among Veterans and providing preventative health care. In 2023, VA successfully placed over 46,000 Veterans in permanent housing nationwide. The local goal of housing 200 unsheltered Veterans was surpassed by housing 279. Birmingham VA’s MMU extends health care services to Veterans facing accessibility challenges and reinforces VA’s dedication to improving the lives of those who have served the nation.

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