Mobile medical team provides La Crosse’s homeless with critical care

St Clare Health Mission program gets to the root of homelessness

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- A group of La Crosse health care workers is leaving the clinic to do more work. The team of doctors and nurses is hitting the streets to provide basic health care and help solve the housing crisis.

There’s no exam table or fancy equipment. Dr. Sarah Brown doesn’t even need a room.  The La Crosse M.D. treats her patients with compassion.  Brown, and a small team from St Clare Health mission, are making medicine mobile. The team provides free care in parks and shelter or any place they need to, to reach the homeless. “Our homeless aren’t living on the streets, our homeless are surviving on the street and just barely.”, explains nurse Sandy Brekke.

Finding patients is sadly the easy part.  La Crosse’s homeless numbers are rising. In late November, Brekke says 23 families stayed at the city’s emergency shelter.  A record that breaks Doctor Brown’s heart. “It’s staggering to come to grips with the fact there are so many children who are homeless.”

The cost of medical care is also up, making this team’s mobile work even more valuable.  Many of their patients qualify for free health insurance. St. Clare Health Mission connects them with access to routine care, mental health, and addiction services, lowering the need for expensive, emergency care and possibly emergency housing. “It’s a lack of treatment that has led to homelessness often times. If we can step back and find the root of the cause, can we as healthcare workers be part of the solution to homelessness.”, says Brekke.

For this team, care takes place outside clinic walls. Good medicine that could help patients to find a home of their own.

The St. Clare Health mission has been providing mobile medicine since the end of summer. The program is funded through donations. Click HERE to help.