Nightly News   |  January 18, 2014

Mobile Doctors Helps Kids in Need

Buses that deliver health care to children who need it most can now be seen in 16 states and the District of Columbia after the flagship program started in New York.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> you now see them in 16 different states and the district of columbia . big blue buses that deliver health care to children who need it most. it all started with the flagship program here in new york . our dr. nancy snyderman has more on the need that's driving the program and the doctors behind it.

>> reporter: the legrand family is going to the doctor, but they don't have far to walk, just to the big blue bus . two-year-old yarianna and baby sister scarlet get free checkups. that brings dr. alan shapiro to new york 's homeless and uninsured kids. he first rolled into this neighborhood 25 years ago. one of the country's poorest.

>> it's hard for people to remember what the south bronx looked like. but to say a war zone is not an exaggeration.

>> not at all. there were empty lots.

>> while the bronx has improved over the years, it still remains a tough place to grow up. one out of two kids lives below the poverty line.

>> i would have never thought in my wildest dreams i would end up being homeless and ending up in a shelter with my kids.

>> reporter: as many as 22,000 kids sleep in shelters on any given night.

>> watch yourself.

>> reporter: the big blue bus sponsored by the children's health fund is there to service their basic health needs.

>> i would assume the parents feel a phenomenal burden and responsibility to get their kids health care .

>> they're very focused on trying to make things happen for their children under circumstances that would challenge most average americans.

>> we were in hurricane andrew and katrina.

>> so you really take this places.

>> we have taken our mobile unit to disasters around the country.

>> reporter: there are now 50 big blue buses answering calls for help.

>> you take one spray --

>> reporter: shapiro has treated thousands of kids and he's proud of one of his patients, juan roblus. he carries this photo on his cell phone.

>> there are lots of tears that day.

>> reporter: the day juan graduated medical school .

>> would you be here if it weren't for him?

>> not at all.

>> we connected from the first minute.

>> from that moment we became friends.

>> reporter: juan is back on the big blue bus as a pediatric resident helping kids in need.

>> we give treatment. we give out prescriptions, but i think we give out kindness. i think we give out hope.

>> reporter: a proven prescription block by block. dr. nancy snyderman , nbc news, new york .