News Release


For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

For Immediate Release

July 13, 1999

Steinhaus Urges Use of Health Care Vehicle That
Serves Uninsured and Working Poor

Poughkeepsie, NY - William R. Steinhaus today invited Northern Dutchess Hospital's Mobile Health Care van to the County Office Building to announce the availability of the traveling Healthcare unit for patients on medicare, medicaid and even patients with no insurance at all. The Northern Dutchess Hospital Mobile Health Care van is a customized truck set up like a minihospital.

"This is an important quality of life issue for Dutchess County families. At a time when health care concerns are rising, we want to actively promote and encourage those who will benefit from this service to use it," Steinhaus said. "It gives those economically less fortunate residents an opportunity to be treated by a medical professional."

The Northern Dutchess Hospital Health Care vehicle travels around the county providing a variety of medical, dental and vision services. Patients can receive such medical services as the evaluation and treatment of acute medical problems, physical exams, immunizations, breast screening exams, blood pressure screening and diabetes screening. Arrangements can also be made for x-rays and lab work. The dental services provided are cleanings, x-rays, fillings and simple extractions.  Patients can also get an eye exam, screened for glaucoma and glasses by visiting the vehicle. On board the Health Care van is a physician's assistant, dentist or optometrist depending on the services it provides that day.

"All forms of insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid coverage, are accepted," Steinhaus noted. "And for those patients without insurance, fees are based on the patient's ability to pay. No patient is turned away because of an inability to pay."

The primary goal of the Health Care van is to serve families and individuals in rurally isolated and underserved areas of Dutchess and Columbia counties. The sites served as of July of 1999 have been the Church of St. Charles Borromeo and the Community Action Agency in Dover Plains, the Town Hall and Library in Clinton Comers, the Immaculate Conception Church in Amenia, and the Fire Department in Standfordville. Today's announcement is to focus on the expansion of the service. They will now be adding a site in the parking lot of the County Department of Social Services facility on Market Street in Poughkeepsie from 9 AM to 5 PM on Thursday July 29,1999.

"If the turnout on July 29th is good, the Northern Dutchess Hospital's Medical van will return every Thursday for a month. So I think it is imperative that as many people in the City of Poughkeepsie as possible take advantage of this opportunity," Steinhaus stressed. "We must make sure that these resources are maximized and do not go to waste."

On each visit, the Health Care van will offer a specific medical service. On July 29' in Poughkeepsie, the van will be offering eye exams. To make an appointment, residents should call 486-3285. Walk-ins are welcome as time allows.

"Soon the medical van hopes to begin a pilot project at two Poughkeepsie schools which will target our Department of Social Services medicaid population which county-wide totals almost 15,000, or which approximately 5,600 are in the City of Poughkeepsie," Steinhaus said. "I feel this is important because this pilot project will help children get a good start with dental and eye care, and will prevent them from experiencing greater problems in the future."

Northern Dutchess Hospital also sends its van to group homes where residents may lack medical care because they have no transportation. In Millerton, the van visits migrant farm workers, who are an important part of our local fanning industry. Many cannot afford medical services and do not speak English. "Our Health Care van is in keeping with Northern Dutchess Hospital's mission to advocate for, and take action where possible to meet the needs of our elderly and our disadvantaged," said Michael Mazzarella, CEO of Northern Dutchess Hospital. "In the past year we have treated over 500 patients."

"The original purchase of the vehicle and its outfitting was made possible by a New York State grant which was secured by the efforts and concern of Senators Saland and Leibell," added Steinhaus. "Its annual operating costs are approximately $200,000 and the organization must constantly seek funding to help defray the costs of treating patients who are unable to pay. I encourage anyone who is interested to give to this worthy cause."


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