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Road trip: Huntsville Hospital adds mobile unit for underserved regional communities 

HUNTSVILLE – While not exactly a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, or for original fans of the movie and television series and new ones via reruns, there’s a new healthcare option for North Alabama residents.

If a new Mobile Medical Unit proves successful and popular, maybe M.M.U. or The Unit will spin off into a TV series.

Back to reality, Huntsville Hospital Health System announced it rolled out a MMU to meet the needs of underserved neighborhoods and patients. The new truck and 25-foot trailer — custom built for medical capabilities — enables Huntsville Hospital’s care team to more easily hit the road and directly deliver basic and preventive health care at North Alabama senior centers, homeless shelters, nonprofits and community events.

(Huntsville Hospital Foundation/Contributed)

The MMU program offers a safe, caring, predictable environment, and functions as a “medical home” to many — at no cost to them. Every service associated with the MMU is free of charge, including screenings, diagnostics and even necessary follow-ups like labs or images.

“It is important for our seniors to know their numbers so they can be aware and be advocates for themselves,” Deitrick Smart, director of the Bob Harrison Center, said. “They look forward to the unit coming out. This helps them be on top of their numbers so they can communicate that to their doctors and stay healthy.”

The unit serves patients up to 22 days per month with recurring screening events, plus clinics at the Downtown Rescue Mission and First Stop. The new trailer and truck amplifies Huntsville Hospital’s ability to better reach those who depend on the services. 

Routine screenings offered include blood sugar, blood pressure and total cholesterol. Patients can get their numbers and be on their way within five minutes.

(Huntsville Hospital Foundation/Contributed)

“The new unit is very beneficial to our community because it is a direct response to what we have seen as a need in our community. It allows us to be more responsive, agile and versatile,” said John Simms, HH Health project coordinator for the Mobile Medical Unit and Community Health Initiative. “We could not do this without community support. Their faith in us to take their gifts and to use them as good stewards to serve the community means a lot.”

According to the hospital, the Mobile Medical Unit was fully funded through grants to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation from Hearst Foundations, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Alpha Foundation, and The Daniel Foundation of Alabama.

 “It is fascinating to see it in action … This Unit is a different concept that seems to work so well and be more flexible in meeting the needs of the community,” said Maria Kennedy, executive director of The Daniel Foundation of Alabama. “We are just excited to be a part of it.”

To schedule a MMU visit, email [email protected] or call (256) 265-9273. The event must be free and open to the public.

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