Ronald McDonald Care Mobile celebrates a milestone
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a partnership between Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison and Mercyhealth, celebrated 15 years of providing primary health care to uninsured and underinsured children in the areas of greatest need.
“We are grateful to work with Mercyhealth to identify gaps in care and deliver services tailored to the needs of the community through the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program. When it comes to delivering health care, the Care Mobile team takes a holistic approach including prevention through health education, treatment, and referrals for ongoing care when needed, said Kevin Huddleston, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison.
Since the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile began in 2003, it has had 11,805 visits with 8,645 children, providing more than $2.2 million in free medical and dental care. That includes exams, vaccinations, dental exams and cleanings.
“We often have children who have not seen a provider in years due to a fear or specific barrier. With education and our attention, they leave feeling confident and happy,” said Toni Ellingson, manager of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.
The Care Mobile is a 40-foot pediatric clinic on wheels, which houses two patient exam rooms, a laboratory, reception area, and medical records area. It visits sites in five counties in Illinois, including Boone, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago, and Rock County in Wisconsin.
“The children and families we see on the Care Mobile often have multiple issues with the traditional health care system — whether it be transportation, lack of insurance, or just a general fear of the doctor or dentist office,” Ellingson said. “We help overcome those barriers by bringing health care into the community in an inviting, nontraditional way, and we are able to adapt to our families’ needs, one child at a time.”
On Monday, March 19, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara honored the 15th anniversary of the Care Mobile at Rockford City Hall. Earlier in the day, the Care Mobile was at West Middle School providing free exams for children in the Rockford Public Schools.