February 8, 2008

Express Care for employees opens in Med Arts Bldg.

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Elaine Dauwalder, M.S.N., sees patients at the new Faculty/Staff Express Care clinic on the first floor of the Medical Arts Building. (photo by Neil Brake)

Express Care for employees opens in Med Arts Bldg.

Staff and faculty with colds, sinus infections, urinary tract infections and other common ailments are now able to make a quick stop at a new employee clinic operated by Vanderbilt Occupational Health.

The Vanderbilt Faculty/Staff Express Care is on the first floor of the Medical Arts Building, in suite 112.

Its entrance is on the outside of the building facing 21st Avenue South, and its hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“The clinic is completely a benefit,” said Elaine Dauwalder, M.S.N., the nurse practitioner who runs the clinic and sees patients there. There is no charge for an office visit.

However, any lab services, prescriptions, or other associated costs are the responsibility of the patient, she said. Services are available to Vanderbilt part-time and full-time employees.

Staff and faculty will need a current Vanderbilt ID to be seen at the clinic, which will not take appointments and will be run on a first-come, first-served basis.

“I'm excited that we can provide a service for faculty and staff where they can get care for those minor health concerns that pop up unexpectedly,” said Mary Yarbrough, M.D., executive director of Faculty and Staff Health and Wellness.

People with work injuries or those needing vaccines will still go to the Occupational Health Clinic at 640 Medical Arts Building, and those with emergencies such as chest pains should still go to the Emergency Department, but the new clinic seeks to function as a quick-in-quick-out way for employees to be seen promptly and return to work, Dauwalder said.

She is also clear that the new clinic doesn't seek to displace a patient's relationship with any other primary health care provider.

“We still want [staff and faculty] to have their own primary care provider,” she said. The Express Clinic will not treat or manage conditions such as hypertension, acute or chronic pain, or diabetes. If a patient comes to the clinic and doesn't have a primary health care provider, the clinic will assist the employee in establishing a relationship with one.

“We are so glad to be able to offer walk-in acute care. It's something many employees have requested from Occupational Health — but it really never worked well in the same clinic with work injury care, medical surveillance exams and drug screening,” said Melanie Swift, M.D., medical director of the Occupational Health Clinic.

“We are also taking this opportunity to clarify when a condition really needs to be managed by a primary care provider versus coming to OHC. Express Care is a unique benefit that very few employers can offer, and we hope to find ways to enhance and expand it in the future.”

Dauwalder received a B.S. in nursing from Tennessee Tech and a Master of Science in Nursing from Tennessee State. She has been at Vanderbilt since last summer and has previously managed clinics in Brentwood and Murfreesboro.