Ion Health Rolls Out Community "Wellness Vans"; Wellness, Preventive Health Care For Erie Residents

ERIE, Pa., July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Ion Health, Pennsylvania's newest Medicaid Health Plan, today announced it has begun providing wellness care and health education to Erie residents through innovative mobile clinics that will bring health care to targeted areas throughout the city and county.

Ion's first "Wellness Van" will visit the Erie County Housing Authority's John E. Horan Garden Apartments on Tuesday, July 6th, between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.; it is the first of multiple visits planned throughout the county. The first outreach, co-sponsored by the Erie School District, will focus on providing immunizations for children who require booster shots in order to enter or remain in school for the upcoming year. Immunizations will be provided free of charge.

"Immunizations are one of the things most frequently overlooked by parents as they prepare their children for the coming school year," said Dr. James E. Barker, Erie school superintendent. "The consequence is that those children are not allowed into school until they've had their shots. By performing this community outreach service now, we are taking a positive step that avoids problems later." Dr. Barker noted that 104 Erie school children were initially denied admittance into school last year, because they did not have the required shots.

The "Wellness Vans" are part of Ion Health's commitment to the Erie community, fulfilling its promise to provide Medicaid recipients throughout the county with healthcare that is specifically designed to provide a higher level of access and service at lower cost to taxpayers.

Ion's two "Wellness Vans" are visiting neighborhoods throughout Erie County, staffed by health professionals, providing health education and conducting screenings to detect conditions needing medical attention. Those conditions include asthma, diabetes, heart disease, depression, immunization and pre-natal and well childcare.

Numerous studies have proven that medical education, early detection and preventive care save significant amounts of money and improve the health of participants. Ion Health's "Wellness Vans" are part of its outreach to the more than 54,000 Medicaid-eligible recipients in Erie County, helping to achieve that goal.

"We will work with anyone who comes to our vans, regardless of whether they are an Ion Health plan member," said Karen Sterling, MD, Ion Health's Chief Medical Officer. "The greatest impact we can have on healthy families comes through active community outreach. Our 'Wellness Vans' are designed to move that one-on-one outreach to a level where anyone can take advantage of the services we offer."

More information about the "Wellness Vans," including a schedule of community outreach visits, is available from Ion Health at 1.888.ION.4YOU (1.888.466.4968).

Erie School District

CONTACT: Judy Husted of Erie School District, +1-814-874-6001,jhusted@eriesd.iu5.org, or Steve Friedberg of MMI Communications,+1-610-518-7474, stevefriedberg1@earthlink.net, for Erie School District

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