Photo by S. Paige Allen, Lewis and Clark Community College photographer/media specialist
Lucy Chappee, HRSA project director and clinic nurse, works with a patient in the L&C Family Health Clinic, which is becoming a one-stop shop for total patient care.
GODFREY — Lewis and Clark Community College’s Family Health Clinic has become the nation’s first community college collaborative practice clinic. For patients, it’s a one-stop shop for a total health care assessment, and only one co-pay.
Project Director Lucy Chappee said after months of preparation, the multidisciplinary approach to health care 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 health care delivery is expected to facilitate better outcomes and reduced costs.”
In order to help facilitate interprofessional health care, the clinic, which is funded by a $1.4 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, 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 health care 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 real world experience working with real patients and serving a community need.
“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 there is sufficient time to properly address patient needs.
Appointments can be made by calling (618) 468-6800, and registration forms are available at www.lc.edu/fhc.
Chappee said she hopes L&C’s efforts will inspire other organizations to take a similar approach to health care.
“I am excited about this new model for health care delivery that we are initiating and hope to see it expand and replicate successfully in other health care practices,” Chappee said.