EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Residents of the East Palestine area and the surrounding community now have another place to turn for healthcare services.
The Community Action Agency of Columbiana County brought its mobile unit to the community in the parking lot of the First Church of Christ. It will offer medical services on Mondays and behavioral health services on Wednesdays to the greater East Palestine community.
“We service about 430 patients from East Palestine that drive to our locations,” explained Tom Andrew, CEO of the Community Action Agency of Columbiana. “So this mobile unit was to really help go after some of those patients that couldn’t get to our physical offices.”
The agency ordered the van back during the pandemic using federal COVID relief funds to pay for it. Andrews explained that the original intent was to use it to offer testing and vaccinations, but because of supply chain and manpower issues, it never arrived until last December. Then the train derailment happened in February and the van was sent to assist state officials in health assessments.
“We were here if there were any patients that did not have a primary care physician or didn’t have insurance. We were here to schedule them with our services,” said Andrews.
The agency is a federally qualified health service and can take patients regardless of whether they have their own primary provider or insurance.
“Based on your family’s income, we have a sliding fee scale, and we will turn no one away who doesn’t have the ability to pay,” explained Andrews.
Andrews says the agency currently has more than 10,000 patients and would like to expand its coverage, especially in this community where neighbors are still concerned about ongoing health risks because of the derailment.
For more information on the Community Action Agency of Columbiana, you can visit its website here.