Health department adds mobile health van

Starting in June, van will bring exam room, vaccine clinics and supplies to rural areas

Outlying areas of Grays Harbor County will see more access to health services starting this summer with the launch of a new mobile health van.

Set to arrive in early June, the van, operated by Grays Harbor County Public Health, will be equipped with an exam room, lavatory and other accessories to deliver mobile services like vaccination clinics, nutrition programs and more to rural areas, said Mike McNickle, director of Grays Harbor County Public Health.

“We recognized that we need to meet people where they are due to the distance from several of our remote locales from Aberdeen,” McNickle said in an email. “Add in potential transportation issues, and it was clear we needed to go mobile to better meet the needs of our community.”

McNickle said his department has talked with several fire departments about parking the van near their stations to act as a central location for people to seek services.

The van, a 2022 Ford with an added unit on a chassis, also comes with a blood draw chair, wheelchair lift, an awning and roof vents, and a dark green wrap on the outside.

The Grays Harbor County Board of Commissioners earlier this month authorized $140,000 for the purchase of the van, including $50,000 in previously approved American Rescue Plan Act funding and $90,000 in Foundational Public Health Funding. McNickle said purchasing the slightly used 2022 model was about $80,000 cheaper than a new van.

Operational costs will be grant funded, McNickle said.

“Public Health is excited to finally be able to go to our more remote locations and provide services,” he said. “We are looking forward to better serve our community, and this is a huge step forward.”