What Mobile Clinics in Dollar General Parking Lots Say About Health Care in Rural America

by | Oct 4, 2023 | Health

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — On a hot July morning, customers at the Dollar General along a two-lane highway northwest of Nashville didn’t seem to notice signs of the chain store’s foray into mobile health care, particularly in rural America.

A woman lifted a child from the back of an SUV and walked into the store. A dog barked from a black pickup truck before its owner returned with cases of soda. Another woman checked her hair in a convertible’s rearview mirror before shopping.

Each went right by a sign exclaiming “Quick, Easy Health Visits,” with an image of a mobile clinic.

Just after 10 a.m., registered nurse Kimberly French arrived to work at the DocGo mobile clinic parked in the store’s lot. She checked her schedule.

“We don’t have any appointments so far today, but that could change,” French said. “Last night we didn’t have any appointments and three or four people showed up all at one time.”

Dollar General, the nation’s largest retailer by number of stores, with more than 19,000, partnered with New York-based mobile medical services company DocGo to test whether they could draw more customers and tackle persistent health inequities.

Deploying mobile clinics to fill care gaps in underserved areas isn’t a new idea. But pairing them with Dollar General’s ubiquitous small-town presence has been heralded by invest …

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