South Jersey’s largest health care system is introducing a new mobile effort to help meet patients where they are.
This week, Virtua Health‘s state-of-the-art Mobile Health and Cancer Screening Unit – a $1 million customized van – hits the streets to offer various cancer screenings and other services in local communities.
According to the health care provider, the vehicle will help to enable six times as many screenings, including free mammograms. That would boost Virtua’s 1,000 screenings from 2022 to more than 6,000 per year. For mammograms specifically, Virtua said it expects to quadruple exams, going from 760 in 2022 to more than 3,400 a year with the help of the mobile unit.
According to Virtua, the program will offer free cancer screenings – including for cervical, prostate and colorectal cancers, among other services – to underinsured and uninsured people in Camden and Burlington counties through the system’s participation in the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program, which is funded by the New Jersey Department of Health. Additionally, the unit will schedule visits to area employers, places of worship, community centers and other organizations to provide screenings for those with commercial insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, Virtua said.
“This innovative mobile program will help reduce health disparities in our region by increasing access to life-saving screenings and other vital services,” said Dennis Pullin, president and CEO of Marlton-based Virtua Health, in a statement. “This is another example of Virtua and its partners and donors working together to build communities of wellness.”
Services offered by the mobile unit will include:
- Leading-edge, 3D mammography clinical breast exams
- Gynecologic/pelvic exams, as part of routine gynecologic care
- Pap tests to detect cervical cancer
- Colorectal screenings via a take-home stool test kit or fast-tracked colonoscopy referrals
- PSA tests, a blood screening for prostate cancer
The van will make its official debut April 19, with a ceremonial rollout beginning at 10 a.m. at Virtua Voorhees Hospital Campus featuring system leaders, patients and others.
Hitting the road
The cancer screening truck is the latest vehicle to join Virtua’s growing mobile unit, which also features a former NJ Transit bus that was transformed into a grocery store, a year-round farmers market housed in a 23-foot van and a pediatric services vehicle.
“Our newest mobile unit will enable us to further improve access to comprehensive health care for those at greatest risk,” said Virtua Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Stephanie Fendrick.
Inside the newest addition to the fleet, the vehicle offers a registration area, private exam room, imaging suite and restroom. According to Virtua, the van’s $1 million price tag includes its 3D mammography system, exam room equipment, mobile health care technology and security system.
Philanthropic partners funded the costs, as well as maintenance and operating expenses, with more than half of those dollars coming from lead philanthropic partner Aetna Better Health of New Jersey, Virtua said. Other donors include: Haines Family Foundation; the physicians of Virtua Health’s Medical Staff South; Ott’s Restaurants: Berlin, Washington Township and Medford; and the volunteer-led Virtua Memorial Auxiliary.
“The impact that Virtua Health is having through our mobile community health programs has been fueled by our philanthropic partners,” said Sarah Fawcett-Lee, senior vice president and chief philanthropy officer at Virtua Health. “The remarkable capabilities of this new vehicle have inspired many generous donors to join us and be part of a project that will save lives.”
More information about the initiative, including information to provide support, is available here.
Uninsured persons can call 856-247-7388 to schedule an appointment; for information about hosting a screening event in your community, call 856-247-7375.