OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the efficacy of a mobile medical clinic (MMC) screening program for detecting latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and active tuberculosis.
METHODS: A LTBI screening program in a MMC in New Haven, Connecticut, used medical surveys to examine risk factors and tuberculin skin test (TST) screening eligibility. We assessed clinically relevant correlates of total (prevalent; n = 4650) and newly diagnosed (incident; n = 4159) LTBI from 2003 to 2011.
RESULTS: Among 8322 individuals, 4159 (55.6%) met TST screening eligibility criteria, of which 1325 (31.9%) had TST assessed. Similar to LTBI prevalence (16.8%; 779 of 4650), newly diagnosed LTBI (25.6%; 339 of 1325) was independently correlated with being foreign-born (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 8.49; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.54, 13.02), Hispanic (AOR = 3.12; 95% CI = 1.88, 5.20), Black (AOR = 2.16; 95% CI = 1.31, 3.55), employed (AOR = 1.61; 95% CI = 1.14, 2.28), and of increased age (AOR = 1.04; 95% CI = 1.02, 1.05). Unstable housing (AOR = 4.95; 95% CI = 3.43, 7.14) and marijuana use (AOR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.05, 2.37) were significantly correlated with incident LTBI, and being male, heroin use, interpersonal violence, employment, not having health insurance, and not completing high school were significantly correlated with prevalent LTBI.
CONCLUSIONS: Screening for TST in MMCs successfully identifies high-risk foreign-born, Hispanic, working, and uninsured populations and innovatively identifies LTBI in urban settings.
Study site: Mobile clinic, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
We mapped mobile medical clinic (MMC) clients for spatial distribution of their self-reported locations and travel behaviors to better understand health-seeking and utilization patterns of medically vulnerable populations in Connecticut. Contrary to distance decay literature, we found that a small but significant proportion of clients was traveling substantial distances to receive repeat care at the MMC. Of 8404 total clients, 90.2% lived within 5 miles of a MMC site, yet mean utilization was highest (5.3 visits per client) among those living 11-20 miles of MMCs, primarily for those with substance use disorders. Of clients making >20 visits, 15.0% traveled >10 miles, suggesting that a significant minority of clients traveled to MMC sites because of their need-specific healthcare services, which are not only free but available at an acceptable and accommodating environment. The findings of this study contribute to the important research on healthcare utilization among vulnerable population by focusing on broader dimensions of accessibility in a setting where both mobile and fixed healthcare services coexist.