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College Opens New Primary Care Clinic in Aurora

​CU Healthcare Partners at Belleview Point held the clinic’s grand opening on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 21. Attendees were welcomed with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and tours of the facilities. The successful opening is the result of months of hard work on behalf of Associate Dean for Clinical and Community Affairs Amy Barton, PhD, RN, FAAN; Healthcare Program Manager Jennifer Smith, BS, BB; and Operations Manager Adrienne Wolf, MPH.

Wolf spoke at the opening on behalf of College of Nursing Dean Sarah Thompson, PhD, RN, FAAN: “Belleview Point is the only clinic of its kind in the Aurora area, and … we provide the highest quality whole person care that distinguishes the role of nurse practitioners. It is our hope and our vision to have nurse-managed clinics such as Belleview Point serve their respective communities through the betterment of access to quality health care and the reduction of health care costs.”

Although there are other direct primary care facilities in the state, Belleview is the only clinic of its kind in the Aurora area and its unique model of extended services includes convenient care and behavioral health services. Convenient care covers many of the same services available at retail clinics, but Belleview offers a full menu of same-day services with upfront pricing.

Walk-ins are welcome for both direct primary care members and those seeking convenient care, and a membership is not required for convenient care services. This model removes the cost estimation guesswork for uninsured or underinsured patients, as well as those with a high deductible.

“It's exciting to be on the forefront of getting this model out here. I've read in a few of the nursing journals it's popped up elsewhere in the country,” says Kristen Petrelli, FNP-BC, RN, one of the providers at Belleview. “It’s exciting to have a nurse-managed clinic because I think that we're able to look at the patient a little differently than physicians. While we continue to place value on physician input, the background a nursing education provides should allow us to feel comfortable practicing autonomously. We expect to continue to work alongside our physician colleagues for mentoring and sharing of information necessary to provide evidence-based, quality care. We have had the opportunity to run this integrated practice by looking at what the patient needs from all aspects and providing supportive care as it related to a physical, emotional, spiritual and social perspective. We’ll be able to show what nursemanaged clinics can do and what nurse practitioners can do in the wider range of the medical community.”

Wolf echoes the idea that the nurse-managed clinic is dedicated to whole person care: “I think that a nurse practitioner’s education and roots are very different than a medical doctor, and so they take care of their patients in a very different way. People respond to the very holistic treatment. I think it's going to be very attractive to a lot of people who are very tired of the traditional fee for service structure.”

Carolyn Hughes, PhD, LCSW, the behavioral health provider at Belleview, is also enthusiastic about the new clinic’s model. “It’s a totally community-based model which makes a lot of sense to me from a clinical perspective,” she says. “A lot of times people just like knowing that there’s somebody [nearby] if they have a question or a problem. Being able to access walk-ins and consult with the other providers makes it one-stop shopping. We’re taking a community-based model that’s in a non-threatening location.”

Because the clinic is a CU operation, other providers may be asked to join Belleview depending on needs for different specialties. “If we start to see that it’s a population that needs a certified nurse midwife if we have a lot of pregnant women, or if we see that we get a lot of pediatrics and we need a PNP, fortunately we can tap into the resources that are already at the University so we can bring those folks on site,” says Wolf.

Wolf already has plans for the future of Belleview, including offering telehealth services, which will allow patients to schedule visits with providers without travelling to the office. “That will be a benefit to them because they don't have to come in and see us physically for a visit,” says Wolf. “We don't need to get paid for that visit; we’re really there to take care of them.”

One important endeavor for Belleview is to promote the proper utilization of the health care system. Wolf aims to educate the community “so people understand the difference between urgent care, emergency rooms, convenient care, primary care, and how to properly utilize all of those. [Many patients] don’t have a primary care provider or they can’t get in, so they just go to the emergency room. What they don’t realize is they’re being charged emergency room rates and that’s not where your primary care should take place. I hope to work with some of those freestanding emergency rooms to build a referral network, so if we have patients who have an emergency, we can send them over there or if they have patients who need primary care, they can bring them over to us.”​