Harrison Patch (07.17.2013)
New York-based Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP) introduced a new $200,000 mobile van that will travel to area women's shelters, schools, and health fairs in four counties: Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Suffolk. The new "SmartWheels" van, a 27-foot-long converted Winnebago, offers a separate room for a clinician to perform HIV tests and urine-based tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, the two most common STDs according to Carol Lemus, PPHP’s director of education and training. "Now, instead of pulling closed a curtain, we can shut the door, which is important because we promise privacy and confidentiality," said Lemus. The mobile clinic also provides pregnancy testing, emergency contraceptives, oral contraceptives, and free condoms.
The van’s onboard computer system is connected to PPHP’s main system, allowing staff to access patient records. “It’s basically a health center on wheels," said Lemus, who added that they also would be able to accept insurance in the van. Jill Scheuer, chair of PPHP’s board of directors, said "the van enables us to reach those who need us most: those who would not walk into one of our health centers, call us on the phone, or even visit one of our Web sites." PPHP has served the community for 80 years.