CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Bridge program through Care Ring is bringing health care resources to underserved ZIP codes in Mecklenburg County through its mobile unit.
Since January 2023, The Bridge reports it's seen a total of 234 patients in a six-month period at its Grier Heights neighborhood location. Now, the mobile unit is reaching more communities.
The unit makes three stops weekly between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- Tuesdays in the Grier Heights Community at 801 N. Wendover Road, Charlotte
- Wednesdays at the Mecklenburg County ABC Store at 2915 Wilkinson Blvd., Charlotte
- Thursdays at The Nest at 400 Camp Road, Charlotte
"We're able to provide health screenings," Stephanie Malloy, the director of programs, said. "Through our ABC Foundation Grant, we're able to provide a licensed counselor who can address mental health, substance abuse, as well as make referrals to partners who can provide long-term care."
The director of community engagement and external relations with the Mecklenburg County ABC Board said their donations back to community partners help fund important work.
"We know that we sell substance that could be addictive, and we want to make sure that there is also resources to make sure people get the help that they need, if by chance the product is misused," said Julia Paul with the ABC Board.
September is National Recovery Month, and more mobile units are hitting the streets as a way to make health care more accessible to rural and underserved communities.
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, mobile health units have increased 40% since 2019.
Starting Jan. 1, 2024, a new MOBILE Health Care Act will go into effect. The new legislation expands access to grant program dollars to federally qualified mobile units.
Malloy says the new leglisation will not apply to them, and she is thankful for Care Ring's community partners who help make their work possible.
"We are so excited to be able to meet people where they live," Malloy said. "If you can't get out and you don't have transportation, we are present. We can assist you in transportation as well to access the unit."