The big blue bus and its "Health in Motion" team provided almost 3,000 health services to 902 people in the first half of this year, meeting them more than halfway at community centers, workplaces, Walmarts and even bars. The county health department, with a grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, acquired the 40-foot vehicle in March 2007 -- just in time to help residents through the current economic downturn.
Inside is a waiting area, exam room, lab space and confidential counseling rooms. Bus driver and senior clerk Angela Archer greets walk-aboard clients and helps determine their eligibility for free or low-cost follow-up care. Then Mary Lou Caldwell of Coastal Behavioral Healthcare conducts brief interviews for a mental health assessment.