Bloomington commits $150K to Carle’s new mobile health clinic | Politics


BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington City Council members unanimously approved spending $150,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to help fund a mobile health clinic dedicated to underserved areas of McLean County. 

The mobile health unit will be similar to a “doc-in-a-box” on wheels that can be able to offer almost every health service outside of dental health, which is something being looked into for future endeavors said Jeff Tinervin, director of Tinervin Family Foundation, a nonprofit foundation focused on improving the quality of life for underserved families, programs and other opportunities. 

“The fact you can do blood screenings, complete chemistry scans, CBC (complete blood count) differentials all on the spot … there’s nothing more important than preventative care and I think this mobile unit will provide that,” said Ward 2 Alderwoman Donna Boelen. 

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The vehicle is expected to cost about $750,000, Tinervin said. The unit, which will be about the size of a recreational vehicle or tour bus, has been ordered and is expected to be constructed and operating within the next 12 months.   

ARPA money will be contributed to the Carle Health Center for Philanthropy as a restricted gift for partial funding of the mobile health clinic, which will address the lack of health services across the county and ensure health services are provided to areas with limited or no access. 

The city received approximately $13.4 million in ARPA funds to be used for various purposes, including but not limited to addressing systemic public health and economic challenges and funding government services hit by  revenue losses.

David Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of McLean County, said various community needs assessments have identified access to services as one of the key gaps in the Bloomington community and county as a whole, dating back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

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The opportunity to create a mobile health unit came about through conversations he and others have had with Carle Health about bringing behavioral health services to rural school districts, and they proposed the idea of creating a county specific unit, Taylor said. 

“Imagine being able to go to Danvers or Colfax or Bellflower and be able to bring Carle clinicians, their nurse practitioners, doctors and others out there,” Taylor said, describing the unit as a way to address “deserts for services like medical care.”

Tinervin said his foundation, the Laborers and United Way each have pledged $100,000 toward beginning construction of the mobile health unit. They also are recruiting people in the community to help donate the remaining funds needed. 

“We think this is the beginning of this partnership (and) we’re going to be announcing some pretty exciting things and other ways we’re going to bring health care to the west side,” Tinervin said.

Restrictions on the funding say the unit will operate only in McLean County and the partnership of donors will work with Carle Health Community’s Health Initiative’s team to determine where and when the unit operates. 

The clinic will include primary family care and integrated services, wellness care and checkups, nonurgent walk-in care, school physicals and vaccinations, chronic condition screenings and education, and basic lab testing. 

It also will be wheelchair accessible and include two exam rooms, which is similar to the existing mobile health unit that is shared by Champaign, Vermillion and McLean counties but has limited availability locally due to its high usage in other counties. 

Ward 4 Alderwoman Julie Emig said she enjoyed touring the unit along with other councilmembers and was impressed by the amount of clinicians and equipment available on hand, but she asked how many residents the unit serves, just for the sake of understanding the scope of it. 

Tinervin said the current mobile health clinic provides care to around 2,000 people each year and sees almost 20 to 30 patients each day. Students also need school checkups and vaccinations across Bloomington District 87 and McLean County Unit 5 schools. 

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They have also seen this type of service succeed at Wood Hill Towers, 104 E. Wood St., Bloomington.

They have had the current unit operating in Bloomington for about 15 months, which has given them a better understanding of where and when to schedule the service locally, Taylor said. 

“This is one of those projects that could have been envisioned and really was envisioned with the American Rescue Plan Act in mind,” said Ward 1 Alderman Grant Walsch.

“I’m gonna call it the ice cream truck going down the street,” he added. “I mean we know we had issues getting vaccines, getting needles in arms with COVID, and I could see something like this, being able to drive down the street playing ice cream truck music saying come out for jab.” 

All costs of operations, staffing and medical supplies will be covered by Carle-BroMenn, and the unit will be under the direction of Carle medical professionals. 

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Officers commissioned

In other news, Bloomington police Officers William Shelton and Ronald Fryman were presented their commission certificates upon the completion of their 18-month probationary and training period, which consists of 14 weeks at the Illinois Police Training Academy and 18 weeks of field training with the Blooming Police Department.

Bloomington Police commission certificates

Bloomington Police Chief Jamal Simington, right, presents Officer Ronald Fryman his certificate commissioning him as a police officer upon his completion training and probation.

Mateusz Janik

Shelton, who is originally from Normal, served with the Army National Guard and Fryman, who is originally from Clinton, served with the U.S. Marine Corps. Both were hired onto the force on Sept. 9, 2020. 

Bloomington Police commission certificates

Bloomington Police Chief Jamal Simington, right, presents Officer William Shelton his certificate commissioning him as a police officer upon completion of his probationary and training period.

Mateusz Janik

There also were 11 appointments and reappointments made to city boards and commissions that include: 

  • Jay Groves reappointed to the Airport Authority Board 

  • Daniel Freburg reappointed to the Citizens’ Beautification Committee

  • Greg Koos reappointed to the Historic Preservation Commission 

  • Catharine Crockett reappointed to the John M. Scott Health Care Commission 

  • Elaine Hardy reappointed to the John M. Scott Health Care Commission 

  • Jacqueline Beyers appointed to the Planning Commission 

  • Betty Middleton reappointed to the Housing Authority Board

  • Scott Rathbun reappointed to the Police Pension Board 

  • Arron Pirtle appointed to the Technology Commission 

  • Gary Neumayer reappointed to the Technology Commission 

  • Nikki Williams reappointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals


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