November 17, 2006

VUSN to run clinics in Clarksville

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Hal Moses, M.D., right, and Hideaki Ijichi, M.D., Ph.D., Research Fellow, are studying a new model for pancreatic cancer.
Photo by Susan Urmy

VUSN to run clinics in Clarksville

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing's successful program of nurse practitioner-run primary health care clinics is spreading to the Clarksville area.

The school recently reached an agreement to operate six such clinics for the Clarksville-Montgomery School System and County Government, covering an estimated 6,300 employees and their dependents.

VUSN operates similar clinics at three Sanford Corp. Plants, the Dickson County Board of Education and at McKendree Village.

This new contract is the largest so far, based on the number of people covered as well as the level of VUSN staffing, which will include one nurse practitioner supervisor, three full-time nurse practitioners, one part-time nurse practitioner, two medical assistants and two patient services representatives.

“This contract takes us to a new level and shows the momentum we are gaining on this approach to primary care,” said Bonnie Pilon, D.S.N, R.N., senior associate dean of Faculty Practice.

“We've created a business model that allows us to offer high-quality, convenient health care coverage at a savings to organizations, and people are taking notice. Our business model also allows us to offset some of the costs of operating some of our community clinics for low-income patients, such as Vine Hill.”

Under the terms of the three-year agreement, VUSN will provide one main clinic located at the Board of Education which will be staffed by two nurse practitioners all day Monday through Friday.

Additionally, there will be five additional remote clinics operating throughout the area, each run by a nurse practitioner alternating for one day each week.

The VUSN clinics will provide coverage throughout one of the fastest growing areas in Tennessee. In addition to school teachers and administrators, government agencies such as the sheriff's department and highway department are also covered under this agreement.

The clinics will offer a wide variety of on-site services offered at no charge to members of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Insurance Trust. Employees and dependents can get comprehensive physicals, primary care including “sick” visits and chronic disease management, and wellness and preventive health care services.

The on-site nurse practitioners will also assist with injury screening and on-the-job injury management.

Faced with rising health care costs and tight budgets, the Clarksville-Montgomery School System and County Government is joining a growing trend toward on-site, nurse-practitioner managed care for large public and private organizations.

“Usually, balancing benefits versus cost involves making difficult decisions,” said Bruce Jobe, human resources director for Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools.

“It's one of those great days that come along when there are three upsides to a new program. Student achievement benefits because teachers are out of the classroom less, and it saves both our employees and our organization money.”

“We did a lot of research and knew on-site medical was the way we wanted to go,” said Jobe. “We distributed a request for proposal and when we got to the presentation phase, Vanderbilt was head and shoulders above any other presentation we had.

“Our geographic relationship with Nashville and the reputation of Vanderbilt University Medical Center were an additional plus.”