VA’s Rural Mobile Unit Partners With Wetzel-Tyler County Health Department
The Rural Mobile Unit (RMU) – an initiative started by the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center about ten years ago – was created with the purpose of giving veterans easier access to healthcare. Heather Zickefoose, LPN on the RMU explained that many veterans are unable to make the commute to Clarksburg or any other VA Hospitals. As such, they aim to bring the healthcare to these individuals via the RMU.
The RMU is equipped with private rooms, a doctor, a RN, and a LPN, and is also wheelchair accessible. Services available to veterans include primary care, health care screening, diabetes screening, blood pressure checks, cholesterol screening, and vaccinations.
For local veterans, the VA’s RMU arrives at the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department each Monday at 9 a.m., and remains parked and accepting patients until 2:30 p.m. Zickefoose said that they accept all veterans, not only those who live locally. She explained that their goal is to help all veterans, whether they are West Virginia residents or not. Zickefoose said that the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department is a central location, not only for the Wetzel and Tyler County residents, but also for those in Ohio in many cases. As such, all veterans are invited to seek out the RMU for their healthcare needs.
While walk-on appointments are accepted, the RMU encourages all to schedule an appointment by calling 304-623-3461 Ext. 3590 or 3332, or 1-800-733-0512 Ext. 7676. For those looking to enroll, visit www.clarksburg.va.gov or call enrollment at 304-623-3461, Ext. 3590 or 3332.
While in the past, bad weather or maintenance problems have caused the RMU to be out of service, the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center has collaborated with the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department in order to ensure that veterans will continue to receive healthcare even during such complications.
Wesley Walls – Public Affairs Officer with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs – explained, “With this initiative, the health department is allowing the VA to utilize space within their office to provide healthcare to Veterans when the RMU may be down. During emergency disasters, mechanical issues, or maintenance, we are able to use the health department to provide uninterrupted care to Veterans.”
Karen Cain, Director of the Wetzel-Tyler County Health Department said that they were happy to offer their exam rooms to the VA’s RMU at no cost when the van is not in service. “It’s nice to be able to help the people who serve our country.” Cain expressed.