A mother takes her 1-year old toddler in for asthma. Another brings in her 2-year-old son, who is suffering from a lingering cough. An elderly woman seeks treatment for her back pain.
"I am here because of a sore throat," says repeat patient and Brentwood resident Maria del Rocio Soriano. "They are nice and they treat me well."
The mobile clinic is staffed by four volunteers and one doctor. On duty today is John Muir Registered Labor and Delivery Nurse Jackie Michaels, who also serves as a bi-lingual interpreter. She welcomes the patients into the van and onto the designated exam rooms, where an average of 20 patients a day (depending on the season) receive treatment.
"Winter is flu season," says Michaels. "We held a flu clinic last month and gave about 200 flu shots. Our services and meds are free.
"We're here for the working poor or the uninsured. We administer the urgent care they need and refer them to the proper county health programs if they need them. "We try to get them into the system, make sure they get the follow-through care that they need - and make sure they don't fall into the cracks."
Hemo-dialysis Registered Nurse Alma Pack quotes the Bible: "To whom much is given, much is expected." A full-time nurse at the John Muir facilities in Walnut Creek and Concord and at the Sutter Delta Dialysis Center, Pack is delighted to help the mobile clinic's patients while sharpening her Spanish-speaking skills. She has been volunteering every Saturday for two years.
Pleasant Hill private practitioner and family physician Dr. Patrick Jolin has been committed to the mobile community clinic for six years. "Sometimes it's better here because I don't have to deal with the financial side of things, like going through insurance and collection," says Jolin. "It's great yet humbling to help people that I know need assistance and to try to make a difference in their lives."
Jolin cites respiratory infections, diabetes and high blood pressure as the most common ailments he treats. The clinic also provides limited urgent care, referring emergency cases to hospitals. "I may be treating them, but the patients teach me a lot in terms of the struggles they go through in terms of health, without much economic resources," says Jolin.
The John Muir Mobile Community Health Clinic comes to the Village Community Resource Center at 633 Village Drive in Brentwood on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Call 513-3107 for more details.