August 9, 1996

Madison clinic set to bring primary care closer to home

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Nurse practitioner Geri Reeves is the director of Primary Care Services at Madison, the third community-based nurse-practitioner operated clinic of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing.

Madison clinic set to bring primary care closer to home

Patients who currently have to travel from Madison for routine care at Nashville's Veterans' Administration hospital will soon have another choice: Primary Care Services at Madison, the third community-based nurse-practitioner operated site of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing, will open August 15 in the Madison Square Shopping Center on Gallatin Road.

The new site is designed as a way for those who look to the V.A. system for routine care to get that care closer to home, but is also anticipated to have a strong presence of others seeking primary care, said Geri Reeves, nurse practitioner who is director of the clinic.

"Geographically it's appealing to patients who live in this area. They'll have something in the community," Reeves said.

The School of Nursing anticipates a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs that would direct patients in the Madison area with primary care needs to the new facility. Approximately 2,000 veterans live in the area, and V.A. physicians would determine which patients were to be followed at the satellite clinic, said Roxane Spitzer, Ph.D., associate dean of the School of Nursing.

Spitzer said that the local Veteran's Affairs officials are supportive of the clinic and its philosophy of delivering primary care in the community, but the Congressional appropriation, while expected, is still pending.

"From the V.A.'s point of view, our Vine Hill clinic is a very successful example of cost-effective, more accessible, affordable health care," she said.

Spitzer said she anticipates that in about two years, approximately 50 percent of the patients at the Madison clinic may be V.A. patients.

"The rest we hope to build a private practice around," Reeves said. The clinic will accept TennCare HMOs, as well as the Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Health1€2€3 Vanderbilt staff and faculty plans.

Spitzer said the opening of the Madison clinic is important not only for residents of that community and for V.A. patients, but for VUMC.

"It's strategically important, not just for the School of Nursing, but for Vanderbilt's outreach into the community for primary care services," she said.

She noted that, with the opening of the Madison facility, Vanderbilt will be the only major nonprofit health care provider in that area.

"It's a good competitive balance, and it gives people choices in health care," she said.

The Madison clinic will be Reeves' first opportunity to work as a clinic director. She graduated from the School of Nursing's Bridge Program in 1993, and, after a stint in the office of a family practitioner, came back to VUMC as a nurse practitioner at the Vine Hill Clinic in March of this year.

Previously she had worked as a staff counselor at the Nashville Church, a congregation of 400 members which meets in a ballroom at the Maxwell House Hotel.

"Nursing had always been in the back of my mind," she said. "I decided to pursue my nursing career, and the Bridge program was attractive because of the Vanderbilt reputation and the time committment.

"Being a nurse practioner is attractive because it also allows me to use my counseling skills," she said.

Primary Care Services at Madison is the third primary care site operated by the School of Nursing, joining the Vine Hill Clinic, located in the Vine Hill public housing community near the State Fairgrounds, and West End, located across from Centennial Park.

The new site will host an open house on Thursday, August 29 from 3 to 7 p.m. People from VUMC, V.A. and the public at large are invited, Reeves said.