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VIPs tour Salud Family Health Center’s mobile clinic

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Eric Galatas

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(Colorado News Connection) United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and U.S. Representative Yadira Caraveo - D-Thornton - recently paid a visit to Salud Family Health Centers' mobile clinic.

Each year, Salud serves up to two thousand migrant farmworkers who travel from other states and countries to plant and harvest leafy greens, corn, wheat, sugar beets, and other crops in North Central and Northeastern Colorado.

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Director Deborah Salazar said her team always gets a very warm welcome.

"And it's usually the same guys that come to the same farms or greenhouses," said Salazar. "And so it's like seeing old friends. They know who we are, they know what we can do for them, and they trust us. There is trust because we have been doing this for a very long time."

In addition to its 12 brick and mortar health centers, and ten school sites, the mobile unit provides primary health services three to four evenings per week - primarily in rural areas.

They screen workers for diabetes, hypertension, cervical cancer, and anemia. Workers can also get lab tests, and flu and tetanus vaccines.

Salud is a federally qualified community health center that provides medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health care services to all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

The first clinic on wheels was acquired in 1980, and Salazar said a brand new unit was rolled out in 2022.

She said her team works to build relationships with farm owners and supervisors to find the best time to plan a visit.

"If they need us to come out and start our visit on the mobile unit at 7 p.m, we can do that," said Salazar. "We are super flexible, because we don't want to interrupt their work day."

Salazar said the medical staff on the mobile unit might be the only people migrant workers see when they are not out planting and harvesting crops.

"These are the folks that put food on our table," said Salazar. "To give them quality, integrated health care - and go to them, so that they are taken care of - this is the least we can do."