Thomas LaBrot, DC, senior vice president of Clinical Services at American Specialty Health, has recently been appointed to the Floating Doctors Board of Directors. The group''s mission is to bring health care services and aid to rural, isolated locations where care is otherwise unavailable.
Currently serving 22 indigenous communities in a 500-square-mile area in northern Panama, Floating Doctors is making it possible for people to get proper care, along with the resources necessary to better their own communities. Aiming to deliver not only medicines and medical expertise, the organization is helping to educate the indigenous people of Panama on how to approach the health care system and get the care they need.
In October 2012, after hearing about the work Floating Doctors was doing, Dr. LaBrot and his wife traveled to Bocas del Toro, Panama, where they saw first-hand the poor living conditions of the people there. Due to local airport construction, settlements had been pushed off the land into a mangrove swamp they called La Solucion, with no plumbing and limited access to clean water and electricity, leaving the people exposed to unsanitary conditions. Learning that for as little as $5,000 they could build walkways and raised water lines that could dramatically improve these conditions, Dr. LaBrot returned home and began work to raise funds. In March of 2013 he returned, helping the locals build walkways from jungle wood they collected.
Floating Doctors has established mobile clinics in Panama, which were open for over 200 days in 2012. Their aim is to start a four-story floating clinic, which could be towed to different areas quarterly, establishing a system of consistent care for communities. This quarterly care system would allow for the delivery of antibiotics and vitamins, and provide access to routine checkups and resources to get patients more complex care.
"The clinics treat everything from head lice to tuberculosis, and are really a family medical practice," said Dr. LaBrot. "We are able to help people navigate a very complex medical system; in many cases people have never seen a doctor before, or have to travel very far to see one, and, even then, may never actually get to see the doctor," he continued.
Floating Doctors also establishes relationships with specialists such as surgeons, eye doctors and others, to deliver more complete care.
"We''re extremely proud that employees of American Specialty Health, like Dr. LaBrot, give of their time to such valuable community organizations as Floating Doctors," said ASH Chairman, CEO and co-founder George DeVries. "Volunteer work is an extremely important part of the ASH culture."
About Floating Doctors
Floating Doctors is a nonprofit organization, whose aim is to reduce the impact of disease in developing areas and to promote more complete health care worldwide. With a purely volunteer-based crew of up to 20 aboard the Southern Wind, Floating Doctors has brought medical care to areas of Panama, Honduras and Haiti.
About American Specialty Health
American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH) is a national health services organization that provides fitness and exercise programs, population health solutions and specialty health care programs for health plans, insurance carriers, employer groups and trust funds. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with offices in Dallas, TX, Indianapolis, IN and Columbia, SC, ASH has more than 1,000 employees and administers services for more than 32 million members nationwide. Additional products offered through ASH and its subsidiaries include Healthyroads®, FitnessCoachTM, Active&Fit®, Silver&Fit®, ExerciseRewardsTM and others.