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Butte doctor brings healthcare to the street with new mobile clinic

Southwest Montana Community Health Center moblie health clinic
Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 19:07:43-05

BUTTE — You may have heard of a house call, but right here in Butte, doctors are bringing their services to the street with a mobile healthcare unit, and they say that there’s definitely a need for these types of services.

"There’s an absolute need. You know, it’s really hard for a lot of people to make it down to the doctor, so we can meet people where they’re at," says Alona Ralph, outreach coordinator with Southwest Montana Community Health Center.

Ralph has been working with outreach programs at the local health center for two years delivering food to homeless members of the community and helping to connect them with resources.

"There’s a lot of, you know, familiar faces but we are starting to see a lot of new faces as well," says Ralph.

"Most larger cities, based on what’s happened over the last five to ten years with the increasing number of people who are unhoused have demand for this type of work," says Dr. Shawna Yates of Southwest Montana Community Health Center.

Dr. Yates, a family physician, says meeting people where they are and offering care to those who may not otherwise seek care from an institution is the goal of the mobile clinic.

"I think that there’s a lot of fear around structure and institutions and so even a clinic or a hospital looks like an institution and it’s challenging for people who are struggling, whether it be with emotional or mental health issues or whether it’s hunger or it’s physical things like diabetes, high blood pressure," says Dr. Yates.

And Dr. Yates says the clinic is open to anyone who might need services.

"Anybody who is working Uptown can come to the clinic and have an appointment. So it's open to anybody who is in the area," says Dr. Yates.

"We’re bringing the healthcare to them where they’re at and where they feel comfortable," says Ralph.

The mobile clinic is a partnership between Southwest Montana Community Health Center and the Butte-Silver Bow County Public Health Department and it is located at Emma Park on West Silver Street on Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on West Galena Street near the parking garage on Wednesday afternoons from 3 p.m to 5 p.m.

The mobile healthcare team also says the locations may change depending on public feedback.