ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis County councilwoman introduced legislation to spend $1 million to give the county health department a mobile medical unit. However, officials said the idea is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Shalonda Webb represents St. Louis County’s fourth district, which includes north county areas like Florissant, Spanish Lake, and Bellefontaine.

She said there were inadequate healthcare facilities for people in her area. Webb said the county health department is partly to blame, and the mobile medical unit would make it possible for the health department to get to more places.

“One, the vehicle will close the gap of being able to get access to medical services, and that may be from testing, health testing, blood work, all of those types of things, to then an assessment of your health,” Webb said. “Just because there were so limited access in the district that I serve so that mobile unit was to do just that, to go to those communities that had limited access and give them an opportunity to get health care services.”

The St. Louis Health Department told Webb in an email saying, “Even with substantial and sustained funding, operating an MMU is a costly and ineffective way to reach patients. The department requests Bill No. 114 is dropped from the agenda.”

Another idea Webb has to spend the $1 million on is a study of the health care needs in her district.

“I’m asking for the $1 million for the health study. To make sure we can create public-private partnerships to bring health care facilities in the area,” Webb said.

The health department responded to Webb by saying, ”We absolutely understand the social determinants of health in our community and we tailor our services to the most vulnerable first.”

The million for the study is in the proposed spending of the ARPA funds that have been introduced. The health department has not indicated whether it supports $1 million for the study.