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Between them, Katie Wencl, her sister, Megan Katcher, and Rachel Blaedorn have six children ranging in age from 9 months to 9 years. In addition to managing busy family schedules, all three women work outside the home,.so they're always looking for ways to save time and reduce stress for themselves and their kids.
Prenatal care just minutes from home
When Katie was pregnant with her third son, she needed regular blood pressure checks. She usually would drive the 30 minutes to Mayo Clinic Health System in Owatonna, Minnesota, for the short appointment, then drive home.
"I learned that the Mobile Health Clinic was being scheduled for Blooming Prairie and really wanted to support it, so I started getting my blood pressure checks there," Katie says. "It was so convenient and just a 10-minute drive away."
Now, Katie takes her kids there for well-child visits, vaccinations and acute illness testing like strep throat swabs.
"It's great not having to take several hours out of my day to go to Owatonna," she says. "It seems like the Mobile Health Clinic can always fit us in."
Nearby well-child care, support for mom
Megan's first child was born in 2021 at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, Minnesota, and she regularly took him to the clinic there. But things didn't go smoothly on the day of Jetson's 3-month checkup. Megan wasn't fully recovered from an illness, she was running a bit behind and then the baby threw up in his car seat. By the time she'd cleaned him up and made the 20-minute drive to Austin, she'd missed the appointment.
"I was upset and emotional, so I called my sister Katie," Megan recalls. "She told me the Mobile Health Clinic was in town that day, so I drove over, knocked on the door and they fit me. Jetson and I were in and out of the clinic in less than 30 minutes. Before I left, I scheduled his 6-month checkup.
"They were so nice, understanding and helpful to me as a new mom," she adds.
Now Megan takes not only Jetson, but also his 1-year-old sister, Camille, to the Mobile Health Clinic for their routine checkups and acute care.
"I've really lucked out," she says. "Every time the kids have gotten sick, the Mobile Health Clinic is in town. I feel it's less stressful for the two littles to go to a smaller clinic. We don't have a big drive — the Mobile Health Clinic is just five minutes from their day care — and we can get ice cream afterward."
Megan considers Emily Majerus, a Family Medicine physician assistant who provides care at the Mobile Health Clinic, an empathetic listener and knowledgeable source of answers to questions about the children's health and well-being.
"I'm so grateful that she comes to our community," Megan says.
Emily says that a significant benefit for families is that they can schedule back-to-back appointments and bring several family members in all at once.
"Sometimes I'll see the children, then Mom and Dad too," she adds. "It really reduces the strain of coordinating appointments at a brick-and-mortar clinic."
Treatment for a baby's recurring ear infections
Rachel and her husband's first Thanksgiving with their new baby, Beckham, was spent coping with his ear infections, which plagued him throughout the winter. Fortunately, the Mobile Health Clinic was in town that week, and they were able to take him there for treatment.
"Every time his ear infections flared up, we would drive to Owatonna, but getting care in our town easily saved an hour," Rachel says.
Emily says that having Beckham seen in the mobile clinic as soon as Rachel and her husband noticed symptoms avoided delays in his treatment. Between Thanksgiving 2021 and February 2022, Rachel made six visits to the Mobile Health Clinic for Beckham's care.
When oral medications weren't effective, Emily prescribed a series of shots that had to be given three days in a row.
"I was so thankful that we could schedule the first and third shots in Blooming Prairie and only had to drive to Owatonna once," Rachel says.
Emily adds that when she started the more specialized treatment, she was able to keep an eye on how he was progressing. "I know that having quick follow-up helped cut down on Rachel's stress and anxiety."
"I felt like we had a good experience every time," Rachel says. "I liked that the same people were always there, which was nice because they were familiar with Beckham's situation and I didn't have to keep telling the story over and over. And for me as a new mom, they were so understanding."
Supporting busy moms and more
The Mobile Health Clinic offers a full spectrum of primary care for preventive and acute conditions, and a broad range of specialty services in person and via telehealth. Emily says having the clinic regularly visit a community provides continuity of care and helps ease access for those patients with various mobility issues.
"When we're right on their doorstep, it encourages people to seek care," Emily says. "We have people walk or ride their bikes to the clinic all the time."