To help Metro with its enhanced efforts to improve safety on its trains and buses, Los Angeles County is providing its mobile medical units in key locations to provide immediate health and social services to people experiencing homelessness.
The first-of-its-kind fleet of full-service medical clinics on wheels began rolling out across Los Angeles County in October 2022 and have been making daily stops at homeless encampments. With an increasing number of homeless people using trains, buses and transit stops as temporary shelter, Metro embarked on an effort to deploy additional security personnel and ambassadors, utilized county-funded specialized outreach teams trained in dealing with homeless people and requested mobile medical clinics at key transit hubs with higher numbers of homeless people.
One area where a mobile clinic makes routine stops is near a Metro station entrance at MacArthur Park.
The mobile medical units are operated by the Housing for Health division of Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Each unit is equipped with full-service exam rooms to provide primary care, such as vaccines and medications; urgent care procedures such as wound care, ultrasounds, and blood work; woman-focused care such as cervical cancer screening, diagnosis for sexually transmitted diseases, obstetrics, and prenatal care; and lifesaving COVID-19 testing and healthcare services. Other services include day-of lab results, behavioral health care, psychiatry, enhanced care management, field-based medically assisted treatment, and care transition.
The clinics are staffed by a team of doctors, mental health professionals, nurses, substance use counselors and social workers. A passenger van is also be assigned to each mobile medical truck to assist in bringing unhoused people to specialty care centers, shelters, clinics, or other programs where follow-up health care or social services can be provided.
In addition to supporting Metro efforts, the clinics also have played an important role in operations to move large groups of unhoused people into interim housing.
The County’s mobile medical units are a major leap forward in efforts to reverse the mortality rates among the local homeless population, reduce preventable hospital visits and direct cost-efficient medical care where it’s urgently needed.