Takin’ it to the Streets: ‘Magic Bus’ Brings Healthcare to Homeless
New mobile service expands access to care for San Francisco’s most vulnerable
SAN FRANCISCO –Providing access to healthcare at the curbside to homeless people in the City’s Tenderloin neighborhood is the goal of HealthRIGHT 360’s new mobile healthcare service. The mobile clinic is a collaborative effort with major support from California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), a member of the not-for-profit Sutter Health’s integrated network of care.
“These are challenging times in healthcare, especially for the vulnerable populations we serve. Being able to provide Mobile Healthcare Services is a huge step forward,” said Vitka Eisen, MSW, Ed.D HealthRIGHT 360 president and CEO. “Over the years, our clients have gotten sicker, they have many more complex health challenges, more co-occurring mental health conditions, and fewer resources. Everyone is somebody’s child, somebody’s mother, someone who matters, we see the person and we’re here to heal.”
“Sutter and CPMC are proud to provide funds to help acquire and equip this medical bus. HealthRIGHT 360 addresses the healthcare needs of the City’s homeless population, including medical issues related to complications from behavioral health and substance use, with a focus on people seeking services in the high-need Tenderloin neighborhood,” said Dr. Warren Browner, CEO of CPMC.
HealthRIGHT 360’s new mobile service builds on its innovative, community-based healthcare model that integrates medical, dental, mental health, and substance use treatment for people who are very low-income and often marginally housed or experiencing homelessness. The street-based model is staffed by a range of medical providers and an outreach team, the mobile clinic has two complete exam rooms, a bathroom, and an elevator wheelchair lift. Currently operating in the Tenderloin neighborhood, the services will expand to the Haight Ashbury and other areas of great need across San Francisco.
“This mobile clinic is all about meeting people where they are and bringing quality medical care directly to the people who need it most,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “It’s another great example of HealthRIGHT 360’s commitment to responding directly to the most pressing needs of San Franciscans, and demonstrates the importance of nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and government working together.”
In addition to Sutter Health and CPMC, other sponsors of HealthRIGHT 360’s Mobile Healthcare Services include Veritas Investments and Wells Fargo Bank.
HealthRIGHT 360 started in the 1960s during the historic “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, where two of its legacy organizations, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics and Walden House, provided medical care and substance use disorder treatment to the youth who came to the City, motivated by the anti-war movement, music, sex, drugs, and the desire to bring about cultural change.