Apr 6, 2022 - News

Telehealth truck to connect doctors with homeless patients in Philly

Broad Street Ministry's community hygiene truck

Broad Street Ministry's community hygiene truck outside of City Hall on Tuesday. Photo: Mike D'Onofrio/Axios

Nonprofit Broad Street Ministry is partnering with a local hospital network to expand health care access to Philadelphia's homeless residents.

Driving the news: Broad Street Ministry unveiled upgrades to its community hygiene truck this week that will allow homeless individuals to access free primary medical care from Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic, via telehealth services.

Why it matters: About 5,700 people are estimated to be homeless in the city, and 950 are unsheltered, according to the city Office of Homeless Services.

  • The roaming truck can reach more people, including those who are unable to seek assistance at the nonprofit's South Broad Street location.

How it works: The truck is equipped with an iPad, which individuals experiencing homelessness can use to connect with a primary care doctor at Trinity Health.

  • Staff on the truck can provide basic medical services, like taking blood pressure and temperatures.
  • The truck also has free personal care items, like soap, deodorant and underwear.

By the numbers: The 16-foot hygiene truck has provided assistance to 617 individuals since hitting the road nearly a year ago.

  • It has made 18 visits to nine locations throughout the region, mostly in West Philadelphia.

What they're saying: "For us, it's about bringing radical hospitality to the streets,” said Laure Biron, CEO of Broad Street Ministry, during a news conference in front of City Hall on Tuesday.

  • Lil Schonewolf, Trinity Health's regional vice president for community health and wellbeing, said, "In order to take care of the most vulnerable … we need to be out on the streets and making sure that we’re addressing the issues that they need."

What's next: Broad Street Ministry will roll out the new telehealth component in the truck in the coming weeks.


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