The Wellness on Wheels truck is switching gears.

In use for more than 20 years to provide prenatal care to pregnant women and girls in Columbus' inner city, OhioHealth's mobile medical clinic has added primary-care services.

As part of a pilot program, the 54-foot Wellness on Wheels Primary Care clinic will serve the Hilltop neighborhood.

From 3 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, OhioHealth physicians and nurses will travel to the Hilltop YMCA, 2879 Valleyview Drive, to provide medical services. A community-health worker will connect patients with social services.

"We looked for areas with deficiencies in primary-care providers and where people were using the emergency rooms for non-medical purposes," said Dr. Krisanna Deppen, the mobile-unit medical director.

The vehicle features two private exam rooms, a waiting room and two private consultation rooms.

Services include annual physicals and wellness examinations; preventive-health options, including screenings and immunizations; management of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure; and evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of medical issues.

Huntington Bank provided $1 million for the pilot program, which could stay in place indefinitely as results are evaluated, officials said.

Dr. Teresa Long, health commissioner for Columbus, said family care often is overlooked.

"Primary care is the foundation for both protecting and improving our health as well as addressing chronic conditions as they arrive," Long said. "It's the first stop."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary