Napa has hosted pop-up retail stores and pop-up restaurants in the past.
Now pop-up health care can be added to that list.
OLE Health is celebrating National Health Center Week Aug. 13 to 19 by hosting pop-up health centers throughout the valley. OLE Health is giving people who may have trouble getting to the doctor the opportunity to speak with a provider directly at their work site.
The pop-up phenomenon started in recent years, using social media to build interest and awareness around a brand. “What we’re doing is taking that same approach to healthcare,” said Tanir Ami, chief executive officer at OLE Health.
On Tuesday, more than 50 farmworkers and other employees gathered to see a health care provider at the pop-up clinic at Beckstoffer Vineyards. Providers included a medical assistant, a registered nurse and a medical doctor. There was no charge for the visit.
“Many of these folks go years without seeing a doctor,” said Patrisia Vigil, patient services manager at OLE Health. “Having one right outside makes it much more appealing and convenient for them.”
Beckstoffer Vineyards employee Fernando Rivera said he hasn’t had a primary care doctor for nine years. He would like to have one, he said, especially now that his back has begun to hurt again from an old car accident injury. Rivera spoke in Spanish and used a translator, as did all the Beckstoffer workers interviewed for this story.
Such gaps in health care can be typical, said Vigil. Some workers prefer to tough it out, instead of seeking help. Others may have a harder time getting time off work, or even a ride to a doctor’s office or clinic.
Employee Luis Garcia usually goes to see a doctor every three months, but because the clinic came to him, “it’s easier and more practical” to visit, he said.
“Many people are scared to go to the doctor,” said worker Mario Perez, adding they may think it will cost too much.
The expense of doctor visits and other medical expenses could mean the worker sends home less money to his or her family in Mexico that month, Vigil said.
Maria Beatriz, another Beckstoffer worker, said she’s been diagnosed as diabetic. While she believed she had no symptoms on Tuesday, she stopped by the clinic to check her blood sugar and blood pressure.
“It’s convenient,” she said of the pop-up clinic.
OLE Health has been working with representatives from Napa Valley Community Housing to provide services for low-income residents, as well as engaging some of the Valley’s most prominent grape growers including Beckstoffer Vineyards and Garvey Family Vineyards to provide services for farmworkers.
“A healthy workforce is a strong workforce, and we are happy to host our partners at OLE Health to ensure our staff can take advantage of the chance to speak with a provider and learn more about protecting their health, particularly during this hot summer” said David Beckstoffer, president at Beckstoffer Vineyards.
“Our residents include the working families of Napa, who often do not have time during the day to visit the doctor, which can delay much-needed care,” said Marlene Santiago, vice president of Resident Services at Napa Valley Community Housing.
“The fact that OLE Health will plan their visit with us during the evening hours, drastically increases the access to care available to our community and that’s something we’re very excited about,” Santiago said.
Each of OLE Health’s pop-up health centers will provide an array of services for residents including acute care, first-aid and wound care, behavioral health screenings, connections to community resources and educational opportunities.
OLE will also have giveaways that are focused on wellness and occupational health for Napa Valley’s farmworkers including cooling packets, first-aid kits, sunscreen and cooled lunchboxes.
OLE Health, which is based in Napa, typically charges for services on a sliding-fee scale based on federal poverty guidelines. Ole Health serves more than 33,000 patients a year.
Patients at the pop-up centers who need further care are referred to OLE Health’s brick-and-mortar clinic.