Terros Health deploys vans as part of Valley homelessness outreach program

Mar 24, 2024, 6:30 AM

Outpatient Portable Pilot Program uses vans to help the homeless...

A new mobile clinic program brings health care to communities in need. (Terros Health photos/via Facebook)

(Terros Health photos/via Facebook)

PHOENIX — A health care program launched earlier this month is providing primary and mental health care to people experiencing homelessness in the Valley, officials announced Thursday.

The Outpatient Portable Pilot Program utilizes two colorful vans to bring health care to people in need, according to announcement from health care company Terros Health. The two vans, which have retro designs, are named “Disco” and “Groovy” respectively.

Each portable van has a registered nurse, a peer outreach specialist and a clinician or counselor who can provide basic primary care, vaccinations and infectious disease prevention.

Clinicians and counselors on the vans can also provide substance use counseling, mental health assistance and harm reduction services to people living in metro Phoenix’s encampments, parks and streets.

In addition to providing various health services, the program also offers housing resources and transportation support.

Main goals of the Outpatient Portable Pilot Program in the Valley

This new mobile clinic program exists thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Health Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

SAMHSA gave $2 million to support the three-year outpatient pilot program.

Terros Health said that although this program is only in its first year, it has already reached its goals. Leaders originally wanted to serve up to 150 clients in the program’s first year. The program has “shattered its objectives,” the company said.

The program has also offered infectious disease testing to all clients and referred at least 80% of people who test positive for treatment.

Loftier goals are in place for the Outpatient Portable Pilot Program in 2025.

Leaders want the mobile clinic program to provide housing support to 75% of patients. They also want to connect at least 10 people a month to short- or long-term housing.

Terros Health CEO Karen Tepper Hoffman said the program fills in gaps in services to make sure people experiencing homelessness have as much assistance as possible.

“Our goal to serve these individuals using an evidence-based, trauma-informed approach to care and Terros Health’s core values of integrity, compassion, empowerment and diversity as a guide,” Hoffman said.

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Terros Health deploys vans as part of Valley homelessness outreach program