SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many people in urban areas still don’t have health insurance and might not be able to get to a doctor if they did. That’s why the Urban League of Springfield welcomed testing for residents, free of charge. 22News found out how much of an impact this makes on the community.
“I think it will make a significant difference for folks who haven’t had medical coverage,” said Urban League of Springfield Senior Vice President Andrew Cade.
Instead of Springfield’s Mason Square residents making an appointment and driving to a doctor for a checkup, healthcare providers came to them. “The Way to Well Health Tour” stopped on State Street to offer its services free of charge. It’s an effort by the National Urban League and Walgreens to help city residents keep medical costs down.
“It is very critical to the urban areas because there are a number of people who are economically disadvantaged,” Cade told 22News.
“Enthusiasm’s been high. We want to keep it coming,” said National Tour Manager Carlos Caldwell. He said their next stop is New York and they’ve already traveled throughout a quarter of the country, offering free medical screenings.
Some people, like Lelia Wilson, come every year. “I just think it’s nice to know that day because you know nothing’s promised to us,” Wilson said.
With just a prick of the finger, participants who might not otherwise go to the doctor found out very important information for free, like cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Throughout the morning on Sunday, residents waited about 30 minutes, all to get the tests that would otherwise cost them upwards of $140.
“People might not even be able to get treatment, maybe they don’t care. It’s very important to get out on your health. Get a checkup on your health,” Springfield resident Donnie Hatten told 22News.
Many agreed that it helped that the bus was set up in the heart of their neighborhood.
“People may feel more comfortable coming out into the community and learn it and it’s important so they can be informed so they can now go back to their provider or doctor and follow up with the results they get here,” said Mable Sharif of Springfield.
For some residents, a few minutes of their Sunday meant getting answers about a health condition. For others, those few minutes also meant peace of mind, knowing they were healthy.
To find out where the Way to Well Health Tour will stop next, click here.