KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Celebrates 20 Years on the Road

The KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile goes on the road four days a week to six different sites in wards 5, 6 and 7; areas that are identified as medically underserved. This year the clinic celebrates more than two decades of serving some of the neediest children in the nation’s capital.

December 6, 2013

Driving Force in Serving the Needs of District Children for Two Decades

(Washington, D.C.) – When the 40-foot-long medical clinic on wheels rumbles up to 12th and G Streets in Southeast Washington, D.C., as it does each Wednesday, there’s a good chance that one of Costello Watson’s three daughters is onboard for a vaccination, a sick visit or a routine physical. “My oldest daughter is almost 20 now and we’ve been coming to the mobile clinic for all of those 20 years,” said Costello. “Checkups, sick visits, well visits – we’ve had a little bit of everything. This is our medical home and it means a lot to our family.”

Costello and his wife are both disabled and do the best they can for their children. Their health insurance has been a patchwork of private coverage and Medicaid. Over the years, care that his daughters received on the KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile has led to important foot surgery, breast biopsies, regular comprehensive yearly physicals and more.

The KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile goes on the road four days a week to six different sites in wards 5, 6 and 7; areas that are identified as medically underserved. This year the clinic celebrates more than two decades of serving some of the neediest children in the nation’s capital.

Matthew Levy, MD sees a patient in the KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile
Matthew Levy, MD sees a patient in the KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile

“We see patients from the time they’re born up until age 21,” said Matthew Levy, MD, Division Chief of Community Pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and director of the KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. The vehicle decked out in Ronald McDonald yellow and red on the outside, houses two exam rooms, computers, and access to electronic medical records on the inside. “They know their children will receive quality medical treatment regardless of their ability to pay. They also know they’ll be treated with respect and dignity.”

“Reliable and consistent access to this clinic has kept my kids in school because when they feel well, they can do well,” said Costello. My oldest daughter is now in college at Penn State and I know being healthy all her life has helped her get there. Dr. Levy has been straight up with us and very good to our family.”

“Years ago when we first came into these communities quality healthcare was very difficult to access for most of our families,” said Dr. Levy who has overseen this “private practice on wheels” for the past 13 of its 20 years. “We understood that for their children to get the care they need, we had to bring the healthcare to them not the other way around.”

“Young people come in with all kinds of health problems – they know they will get treated at no cost to them. We also refer for psychological and specialist consultations when needed. Our care is a team-based approach.”

This November the KMMC/RMCM marked 20 years on the road in D.C. with a celebration that included clinicians, community and donor supporters and families themselves.

M. Joy Drass, MD, former President of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and now vice president of Operations for the Washington, D.C. region of MedStar Health said,” I’d like to thank all the families who have invited us into their community and who have responded to us with trust. This is really their celebration. We’re proud to be serving the children of the district and proud of this partnership. We had little understanding of the program back in 2000 when I came on board at Georgetown; now this program is our link to the community to improve access to healthcare and to be a medical home for thousands of patients.”

David Nelson, MD, Chief of Pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown said,” Twenty years ago we had to prove ourselves. Now we’ve been here for two decades and we’re in this for the long term.”

Since its beginning the mobile clinic has provided about 50,000 patient visits. Each year as many as 1,200 patients stop by for medical or mental health consultations and an average of 300 children a year receive the immunizations that keep them healthy and in school.

“In the very near future, I see this care mobile becoming a wellness center – moving people from sickness to wellness; focusing on the five pillars of health: physical, mental, oral, nutritional and the social determinants of health Addressing and coordinating these I am convinced we can bring people back to wellness. It’s a big vision but attainable. Our families are the rock of this program; we get strength from them and together as a team I know we can get there.” 

About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute-care teaching and research hospital with 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis—caring for the whole person—MedStar Georgetown is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options within a trusting and compassionate environment.

MedStar Georgetown’s centers of excellence include neurosciences, transplant, cancer and gastroenterology. Along with Magnet® nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research and cutting-edge technologies, MedStar Georgetown’s healthcare professionals have a reputation for medical excellence and leadership. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital—Knowledge and Compassion Focused on You.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for the families of Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, multiple ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for quality and service excellence. MedStar, the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, trains 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

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