ADELPHI – Feb. 19 marked a historic day for Prince George’s County as business leaders, nonprofit organizations and the county government joined forces to address the issue of increasing health care access for the county’s most underserved residents.
“No issue is more important than making quality health care accessible to those in our community who need it most,” County Executive Rushern Baker III said. “Bringing together government, not-for-profit and business resources is an essential part of achieving this objective, and I’m pleased that leaders from each of these sectors within Prince George’s County are committed to working together to develop solutions to this fundamental need. I want to thank Walmart and the Walmart Foundation for their support of this important effort."
Baker and representatives from the county Health Department, Doctors Community Hospital, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care gathered at the Prince George’s Child Resource Center on Riggs Road to discuss various initiatives.
Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation awarded grants and presented a check to Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, Prince George’s Child Resource Center and Doctor Community Hospital’s new mobile health clinic “Wellness on Wheels.”
“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to work with local governmental agencies and exceptional not-for-profits to help transform the lives of people in need,” Walmart Director of Community Affairs Nina Albert said in a press release. “Programs like those operated by the Prince George’s County Health Department, Doctors Community Hospital, Mary’s Center and the Prince George’s Child Resource Center provide essential services to friends, neighbors and fellow residents. It’s an honor to play a part in supporting their honorable missions and promoting the outstanding work they do every day.”
After the check presentations, the crowd moved outdoors to witness the unveiling of Wellness on Wheels, which will be operated by Doctors Community Hospital in partnership with the Prince George’s County Health Department.
“It’s a low-cost way of getting services to folks who have chronic diseases,” Doctors Community Hospital Chief Operating Officer Paul Grenaldo said. “And they find themselves sometimes abusing the system because they’ll resort to the highest cost emergency room as opposed to getting that healthcare and taking care of themselves in their community.”
Wellness on Wheels will carry healthcare professionals to different locations within the county and provide medical services to underserved residents who live in communities where health disparities are above the national or regional average. Grenaldo said the mobile clinic will travel “all throughout the health enterprise zone,” which is Capitol Heights, Largo, Piscataway, Greenbelt and Riverdale Park.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation is providing $100,000 in funding for the mobile clinic’s first year of operations. Services offered through the mobile unit to residents age 16 and older include diabetes screenings, cholesterol screenings, blood pressure screenings and medication education. Baker said health plays a “key role” in public safety, education and economic development.
“I think one of the contributing factors for people not graduating or people not doing well (in school) is because many times, health concerns go undiagnosed much like hunger,” Baker said. “So having the ability to bring these resources together to have the impact on those and to make sure people are healthy and well so when they’re out there in the world, they can function properly.”
The Walmart Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care to further the center’s mission of providing health care, education and social services to county residents in need. Walmart donated more than 8,000 diapers on Feb. 19 to the diaper bank and the Walmart Foundation awarded more than $55,000 to Prince George’s Child Resource Center.
“The diapers are to load up the diaper bank, the Wellness on Wheels (grant money) was to outfit the mobile van and then the $50,000 for Mary’s Center was to provide primary care services at their Adelphi clinic,” Albert said.
“We know that there are families out there that are in crisis that just need a little bit of help to get over that hump,” said Marti Worshtil, Prince George’s Child Resource Center executive director. “We are not supplying diapers to a family for a year, we’re just helping them. So while they’re coming in to get the diapers, we’ll also be able to hook them up with community resources.”