The costs of good health

| February 03, 2008

Rush, who was building a bigger clinic on the Texas side of Texarkana just off Interstate 30 (U.S. Highway 71 North), decided something needed to be done to help truckers in similar situations.

He was already doing drug screenings and DOT physicals, but with the addition of eight tractor-trailer parking spots (and plans for more) at his new medical clinic, he created Highway Health Care.

When walk-in truckers arrive at the Rush Family Health Care clinic, they receive priority treatment.

“I understand truckers don’t have a lot of time sitting around to see a doctor,” Rush says. “We put them at the front of the line so they can get back on the road.”

The clinic regularly treats chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid problems, obesity and attention deficit disorder, as well as acute problems like colds, flu, cuts, abrasions, infections, asthma attacks and minor injuries.

The facility also operates four rooms for sleep testing, doing both overnight and daytime sleep studies for sleep apnea, daytime somnolence, narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.

Rush also implemented pay options to fit truckers. He accepts credit card, debit card, e-screen, cash, insurance and Comdata checks. For cash-paying truckers, DOT physicals are $89 for in-and-out service. All other office visits are a flat fee of $79.

“I love the way Dr. Rush has set up this clinic for truckers and other travelers, including RVers,” Nolte says. “He understands and cares about truckers.”

To let truckers know about Highway Health Care, Rush has erected billboards along U.S. 59 and I-30.

Heath Hudlow of Jasper, Ga., a driver for Auto Truck Transport of Springfield, Okla., was quite pleased to find a trucker-friendly clinic when he visited the facility in mid-November. The 32-year-old was feeling under the weather when he stopped in Texarkana en route to Michigan.

“I found the clinic in the phone book, and I was surprised when they told me they had truck parking,” Hudlow says. “I’m very picky about physicians I see, but we hit it off. The staff seems very informed and very friendly.”

On a more national scale, a new chain of truckstop clinics began popping up across the country last year. The Professional Drivers Medical Depots (PDMD) has opened three clinics so far, at Petro Stopping Centers in Knoxville, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark., and a Sapp Bros. Truck Stop in Peru, Ill.

PDMD offers DOT physicals, drug screening, minor medical, first-aid for injuries, prescription refills, flu shots, free lab screening, fast-track emergency evaluations and diagnostics, access to a national hospital network, multiple payment options and other services.

PDMD completed a survey of 2,000 truckers last summer that highlighted the need for better health care for over-the-road drivers.

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