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Healthwatch 16: Geisinger Mobile Health

Buses full of wellness and primary care teams are offering services to help people better manage their health without having to go to the doctor's office.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — If you can't get to your health care appointment, your health care appointment will come to you.

Geisinger's Mobile Health Services buses are traveling all across the state this summer, stopping at various Geisinger facilities.

Officials on board are looking for so-called care gaps. Recently a bus parked in Pottsville was focused on diabetes patients.

Geisinger officials say in the Pottsville and Orwigsburg areas alone, they see more than 1,700 patients with diabetes.

"This bus has been mobile since July. Our focus is on diabetic patients due for retinopathy screenings for diabetic patients, as well as any blood work they're due for," said Kelly Adams, a performance innovation consultant at Geisinger.

Adams notes that COVID-19 put a lot of people behind schedule for their yearly or bi-yearly checkups, something that diabetes patients, for example, can't afford to miss.

She says these buses have been popular. They're seeing 30 to 50 patients per day and making sure people are safe in the process.

"We're taking precautions being on the mobile bus. We're distancing patients, wearing masks, and sanitizing as we would do in the clinics, even with what we'd do in an exam room."

The bus tour began in the western region in July, then moved to the central part of Geisinger's coverage area, and has now entered the eastern part of the state for its final few weeks.

There are buses for various medical needs, but this one offers diabetic A1C monitoring and diabetic retinopathy screenings, among other services. Based on their findings, team members can help patients figure out what should come next.

The bus visited or will visit 16 Geisinger locations in two months.

Next up will be locations in Mountain Top, Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, Tunkhannock, Scranton, and Mount Pocono.