Health Mobile

June 26th, 2011


Back in October of last year, the Board of Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC) approved the donation of a health mobile to our group.

The vehicle is a 31,000-pound, 2003, Airstream Mobile unit, that had been specifically made for CRMC, to reach the population widely dispersed throughout Sullivan county. When they used it, it was staffed by a Nurse Practitioner and a fulltime CDL driver. It had a mammogram and they also provided screenings for diabetes, hypertension; performed pap smears and gave influenza and pneumonia vaccinations. As their need to cut expenses became a major priority, they decided to suspend its use. So, for nearly three years, the health mobile unit was sitting in their parking lot, totally inactive.

Until recently our group had been meeting intermittently. However for the past several years our meetings had become more frequent and regular. In addition we had become a formal branch of CMDA, allowing us to enjoy the benefits of a non-profit organization, the 501(c)(3) designation. In light of this designation the core team decided to come together to strategize. As we were brainstorming, our president, Frank, challenged us to think outside the box.

I suggested to the core group that we ought to consider the possibility of acquiring a health mobile.

The day after that core team meeting, I called an administrator (Marty) of CRMC. Marty told me that the vehicle was just sold to a religious (Hasidic) organization for over $60,000. Not surprisingly, I was disappointed that we had missed a great opportunity. However, even if the vehicle was available, being a new branch of CMDA, without any assets, we obviously could not afford it.

Unexpectedly, two weeks later Marty called to clarify that the health mobile had, in fact, not been sold.

The morning after that phone call, Marty and I met. It “occurred” to me to tell him that we, Hudson Valley-CMDA, not only definitely wanted to acquire the health mobile, but that we would like to get it for free! Being a new organization, Marty now knew that we did not have any money.

I actually thought Marty would laugh, but he asked me if we were a 501(c)(3) organization. I told him we were. In that case, he said, it might be easier for the hospital to do just that, donate the van to us.

We both knew then that a conversation with the chief executive officer of CRMC was in order. An appointment with Mr. Steve Ruwoldt, CEO, for the following day at 4:30 PM, was secured. Sensing the critical nature (for CMDA of Hudson Valley) of the coming events, I asked my spiritual brothers and sisters to pray.

That evening, in preparation for the meeting with Steve, I felt led to develop a PowerPoint presentation explaining CMDA as a national organization, and also CMDA of Hudson Valley, our local branch.

During the meeting, I shared with Steve the mission and vision of CMDA. I shared the core values, the statement of faith, and the various services it provided. I shared with Steve that we, CMDA of Hudson Valley, were a group of physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, medical assistants, drug reps, administrators, medical secretaries, x-ray technicians, etc. Our common denominator was that we were followers of Christ working in the medical industry with a desire to reach out to the marginalized in our communities. We would demonstrate our objective through our upcoming outreach in the city of Newburgh on October the 30th.

During our discussion, Mr. Ruwoldt assured me that if it were up to him, he would immediately donate the Health Mobile to us. However, not being in the business of unilaterally giving away hospital assets, he would need the Hospital Board’s approval. Steve found the “timing” of this discussion very interesting, as the Board was going to meet in just a couple of days.

At our first outreach event, at the Newburgh Ministry (a homeless shelter), I got a chance to share the PowerPoint presentation with the rest of our group. The possibility of acquiring the vehicle, the potential it could afford us in responding to His leading, prompted those in attendance to commit themselves to prayer and fasting seeking God’s favor.

The experience at the Newburgh Ministry was awesome. We saw nearly 50 people in a matter of three hours. This was documented by several photographs. Along with the photos, I sent Steve the scripture below describing the parable of the Good Samaritan.

  “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied: “There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho who fell prey to robbers. They stripped him, beat him, and then went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road; he saw him but continued on. Likewise there was a Levite who came the same way; he saw him and went on. But a Samaritan who was journeying along came on him and was moved to pity at the sight. 
He approached him and dressed his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. He then hoisted him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, where he cared for him. The next day he took out two silver pieces and gave them to the innkeeper with the request: ‘Look after him, and if there is any further expense I will repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers?” The answer came, “The one who treated him with compassion.”

 Jesus said to him, “Then go and do the same.”
– Luke 10:29-37

That Wednesday night, after their meeting, Steve sent a text message informing me that the Hospital Board had approved the donation of the Health Mobile to our group. There were only two conditions. The first stipulation would be that the CRMC logo be completely covered; and second, that the vehicle be also used in Sullivan County. Apparently, the Board was excited about giving the vehicle to us, a group of physicians and dentists who would use it to the benefit of the indigent in the local community.

All of this occurred last fall. A lot has changed in the past eight months. Both Marty and Steve are no longer working at CRMC.

After an appropriate but protracted vetting process, the new administration at CRMC, has finally informed me they are satisfied that everything has been properly handled. There are no compliance issues. They will be releasing the vehicle to us this week!

Please pray.

Above all, pray that we remain obedient to Him. Pray that we continue to surrender all our plans to Him; pursuing His will and patiently awaiting His timing. In the coming days, we will meet again to pray together. We will be seeking His wisdom in how to best use this van and the various other resources He is giving us. We are humbled that He chooses to use us in advancing His Kingdom.

Thank you for being part of God’s plan in this ministry with us. Please join us on July 17th, 2011.

Juan D Goyzueta, MD

Vice President CMDA-HudsonValley


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