Farm labor ranks as one of the top three most dangerous occupations in the country and farmworkers suffer from incredible occupational risks, disproportionate general health issues, and extreme barriers to care. Agriculture is NC’s leading industry, yet farmworkers are some of the most underserved in the state. Vecinos believes that access to health care is a basic human right, but due to our geographic isolation, lack of public transportation, and institutional and social discrimination, many farmworkers and their families do not enjoy that right.
We are a free clinic, serving 100% uninsured and underinsured patients with free primary and behavioral health care. Our patients identify as Hispanic or Latino and 97% fall at-or-below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. We hold a weekly static clinic for non-migrant farmworkers and also use a mobile clinic to bring services directly to migrant farmworkers, while also providing focused health education and case management services, including medical interpretation and transportation, as well as other ancillary programs.
Mobile Clinic for Migrant Farmworkers
Our primary service is a mobile medical clinic, which we use to provide primary care and mental health services to migrant farmworkers in their homes or camps after the work day.
Outreach workers conduct annual health assessments, including substance abuse and food insecurity screenings; coordinate referrals to specialist services; manage individual cases; provide medical interpretation, transportation, and health education; and coordinate the arrival of medical providers and counselors on the mobile clinic after the farmworkers arrive home from work.
The mobile clinic provides nursing services including health education, point-of-care blood work, and flu vaccines; behavioral health and counseling services, including substance abuse counseling; and primary care services with mid-level and MD providers.
Migrant farmworkers face extreme barriers to care, including a lack of transportation, cost, and timing of appointments, language, health literacy, and cultural barriers. Vecinos reduces those barriers by providing free mobile services through bilingual staff with specific training on agricultural medicine while on the farmworkers’ schedules.
We are pleased to announce the arrival of our first of two new mobile clinics! Check out the New Big Bertha on our blog.
Keep an eye out for the announcement of our second new, smaller mobile clinic, Little Bertha, this fall!
Traditional Clinic for Seasonal Farmworkers and Other Patients
Outreach workers conduct annual health assessments, including substance abuse and food insecurity screenings; coordinate referrals to specialist services; manage individual cases; provide medical interpretation, transportation, and health education. Our weekly static clinic provides everything the outreach workers and the mobile clinic does to non-migrant (seasonal) farmworkers, but in a traditional clinic setting.
Mental Health Program
Before offering our own bilingual behavioral health services, the last bilingual counselor who served the general Spanish-speaking population had left the region in 2017. Vecinos bridged the gap by interpreting for mental health appointments. In January 2019, we began behavioral health services at our static weekly clinic and have since been actively working to also include services on the mobile clinic for migrant farmworkers.
Vecinos accepts some donations of clothing and basic household items so that when we have a patient in need, we can help them right away. Cullowhee Baptist Church hosts our clothes closet and provides volunteer hours to keep it organized and well-stocked.
Children’s Christmas Gifts Program
For years, generous community volunteers have purchased, wrapped, organized, and coordinated over 150 Christmas gifts for our farmworker families. Every child that is registered with Vecinos receives a Christmas gift.
We host several wellness groups in response to identified needs. Some examples of current and past wellness groups include a women’s-focused wellness group, personal coping skills group, and parent support group.