GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College’s Family Health Clinic has become the nation’s first ever community college collaborative practice clinic. For patients, it’s a one stop shop for a total healthcare assessment, and only one co-pay.
Project Director Lucy Chappee said after months of preparation, the multidisciplinary approach to healthcare delivery is ready to be implemented.
“We have developed a care team made up of faculty and clinicians from nursing, dentistry, dental hygiene, exercise science and occupational therapy, who will work together to coordinate and follow-up on total patient care,” Chappee said. “This new approach for healthcare delivery is expected to facilitate better outcomes and reduced costs.”
In order to help facilitate interprofessional healthcare, the clinic, which is funded by a $1.4 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will be moving to River Bend Arena in 2016 to be housed near the Paul B. Hanks Dental Clinic.
“This multidiscipline approach actually saves time and money, as patients can have multiple health concerns addressed in fewer visits, and there is no charge for some of the added value of services provided,” Chappee said. “There are many benefits to utilizing the Family Health Clinic. The clinic sees patients with both acute and chronic health issues, and for many of our patients, we are their primary healthcare provider.”
Family Health Clinic and Grants Compliance Manager Tina Russell said 3,979 patients visited the clinic in 2015, for a total of 152,358 patient encounters since the clinic’s opening. Also in 2015, 199 L&C nursing students saw 254 patients there, giving them valuable real world experience working with real patients and serving a need in the community.
“Most patients can usually be seen the same day they call for an appointment,” Chappee said. “If the clinic is not equipped to address a particular health problem adequately, we can still coordinate diagnostic tests and referrals to specialists. And, besides our low fees and reduced co-pays for L&C employees, patients often comment on how convenient the clinic is and how much they appreciate the time that the providers spend with them.”
Chappee became a nurse in L&C’s Family Health Clinic four years ago and continues to work part-time in the clinic in that capacity. She enjoys the environment in which she works with patients.
“In a nurse-managed clinic, I find that we have more time for patient education. I enjoy the fact that we can focus on preventive health measures – not just treatment,” Chappee said. “Nursing provides so many different options and opportunities, and the fact that nurses can impact a patient’s wellness is very rewarding.”
Walk-ins are welcome for some services, such as minor illnesses, immunizations and most health screenings, but Chappee recommends appointments for new patients, physicals or expanded visits to ensure that there is sufficient time to properly address patient needs.
Appointments can be made by calling (618) 468-6800, and registration forms can be found online at www.lc.edu/fhc.
Chappee hopes L&C’s efforts will inspire other organizations to take a similar approach to healthcare.
“I am excited about this new model for healthcare delivery that we are initiating and hope to see it expand and replicate successfully in other healthcare practices,” Chappee said.