Mobile medical clinics bring health care directly to homeless veterans in 25 cities

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More than 35,000 veterans in America are homeless – and health care isn't always their top priority.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wants to bridge that gap by providing medical care to homeless vets.

“The mobile medical unit is a physical truck or van that goes into the community setting and brings health care services, those comprehensive resources, directly to veterans in the community setting to reduce the barrier of transportation, which is a very important barrier for this population,” shared Dr. Jillian Weber, national program manager for Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams in Nevada, told Fox News.

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Morgan Spicer, who served in the Air Force before retiring in 1990, is currently staying at the Salvation Army shelter in Las Vegas.

If he has to undergo a check-up at the clinic, Spicer says it's usually a matter of a day.

Morgan Spicer, who retired from the Air Force in 1990, currently resides with the Salvation Army. He is pictured here receiving medical care in a mobile unit. (Sunny Tsai)

“If you have an appointment at the hospital, you have to take the Salvation Army bus there, you have to go at 7:30, and then you either have to take a civilian bus back, or wait until 1 in the afternoon for him to pick you up you up,” Spicer told Fox News.

But now the VA's mobile medical team is bringing the clinic directly to patients.

“I just had to walk out the front door,” Spicer said.

“It's literally a clinic on wheels.”

Elizabeth Jarman, a coordinator for VA Southern Nevada Health Care, told Fox News how the initiative works.

“We go to one of our community shelters or our transitional housing sites, and we're usually there from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” she said.

A man has his temperature checked

Morgan Spicer, a homeless veteran, has found health care much easier thanks to mobile medical units. “I just had to walk out the front door,” said Spicer, pictured here. (Sunny Tsai)

“We can see veterans all day and then ride [the bus] back to the hospital. Veterans therefore have access to primary care.”

Jarman added: 'It's everything you would do in a regular primary care clinic. It is literally a clinic on wheels.'

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The portable clinics are available in 25 cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago and Seattle.

“We know from the evidence that veterans experiencing homelessness have unmet health care needs, and they face numerous barriers and challenges not only in accessing medical services and resources, but also in providing long-term care,” said Weber.

Four women stand and sit around a table

The Las Vegas Mobile Medical Unit team is pictured outside the unit. (Sunny Tsai)

The mobile units are just one way the VA is trying to combat veterans' homelessness — by first providing them with housing and then health care and other support, the team said.

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For more information or to get in touch, anyone can view the details at va.gov/homeless/nationalcallcenter/asp.

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