MONAHANS, Texas (Nexstar)- Those living in rural areas around the Basin often struggle to find affordable healthcare options in their communities. Now the Texas Tech University Health Science Center, in partnership with the Permian Strategic Partnership, is stepping up to bring quality healthcare to these communities in the form of a mobile medical unit. 

TTUHSC calls the outreach “Medicine on the Move” and PSP President Tracee Bentley said the mission is to “serve the under-insured families in our entire region to help increase access to primary care by bringing affordable, quality healthcare to rural communities”. 

“Our care vans remove the barriers that prevent Texans from securing preventive healthcare services. Primarily, our work is focused around childhood immunizations and vaccines,” said Sheena Payne, Executive Director of the Caring Foundation of Texas.  

According to the 2020 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Report, there are a large number of counties in the Basin that rank “extremely” low in healthcare services.

“We have 158 counties in Texas that do not have a general surgeon. We have 147 counties that lack an OB/GYN, and 35 counties in Texas have no physician at all,” Bentley said. 

Bentley said the Permian Strategic Partnership asked TTUHSC about partnering together two years ago after learning of the success of the mobile medicine model in other parts of the state.

“We said, ‘I wonder if we could bring this here’? So we called Texas Tech and they said, ‘we sure can’. And we put pen to paper and here we are, two years later,” Bentley said.

The mobile care program launched Monday in Monahans, with the rest of the surrounding areas to follow shortly. Partners of the program said they are already seeing excitement in the communities.

“We’ve had a number or community leaders reach out…about how they can tap into this opportunity and partner with us. So, yes, there’s been a great deal of interest,” said Dr. Timothy Benton, Regional Dean for TTUHSC School of Medicine. 

Partners of the program said this new way of providing healthcare is favored by many who simply don’t enjoy going to the doctor, saying the small setting can be a much more calming experience for some patients.