Mobile Integrated Health expands its reach to islanders

The program provides preventative care and home check-ins for medically vulnerable islanders.

Vashon Island Fire & Rescue’s (VIFR) Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program, providing preventative care and home check-ins for medically vulnerable islanders, has now expanded its reach, less than three months into the program’s launch.

As of late April, the program had 42 different patients, with 22 new referrals in the past month alone, according to Lilie Corroon, who manages the program for the fire district.

MIH is a King County program, partially funded by an already-existing EMS levy, with the balance of its revenue made possible by local voters’ approval, in 2023, of a levy lid-lift measure for the district.

The program proactively serves islanders in their own homes with a wide variety of needs, including but not limited to follow-up visits after surgery, wound care, fall prevention assessment, nutrition and wellness checks, and connecting islanders to ongoing support.

Here’s how it works: on Wednesdays, the program’s nurse, Ashley Soares, accompanied by one of a rotating crew of VIFR firefighters, heads out to make house calls, in a new shiny red utility SUV purchased last year for the program.

The program’s initial list of patients came from internal referrals — islanders whom VIFR personnel identified as needing assistance due to the district’s previous interactions with them.

But now, MIH has begun to work in partnership with other island organizations, including Vashon Senior Center and Vashon Youth & Family Servies, accepting referrals from these organizations for new patients.

Islanders may now also refer themselves or others for the program by emailing or calling 206-463-2405.

At a Fire District board meeting on April 24, Corroon said that she was very excited to expand the program’s reach in this way.

MIH’s partnership with the Senior Center immediately brought in two new referrals to the program — one of which resulted in the program’s first ambulance transfer to a hospital on the mainland, she said.

“What is really important about Mobile Integrated health — and something we know makes a big difference — is that while some people we see make a lot of 9-1-1 calls, there are people who aren’t looking for help or don’t know they need help,” she said. “And so, for example, [the patient referred by the Senior Center] wasn’t looking for help — the community around them was looking for help.”

Now, Corroon said, that islander has weekly standing appointments with MIH and is also being connected by MIH personnel to other resources in terms of obtaining health care.

Fire Chief Matt Vinci praised the program and Corroon’s management of it, calling it remarkable that within such a short period since the program’s launch, it had now grown to serve more than 40 islanders and had built the capacity to accept referrals from partner organizations and the public.

“We think there’s some potential for opportunity to expand to additional field days,” Vinci said. “We’re piloting a second day this week to include evening hours.”

The district is now in discussions with three other additional partners for the program, Vinci said — the DOVE Project, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, and the Vashon Care Network.

The story about the patient referred to MIH by the Senior Center, Vinci said, perfectly illustrated the benefits of the program.

“That’s real life,” he said. “…This is what MIH is supposed to be doing: creating that community and being able to connect those dots.”

To learn more about Mobile Integrated Health visit, email or call 206-463-2405.