If students on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus found themselves ill before Sept. 15, 2015, they would have had to use the emergency room or find a provider on their own. But now, thanks to a collaboration of several campus partners, the Campus Health Center (CHC) is available on the second floor of the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.
The CHC provides integrated physical and behavioral health care through three board-certified nurse practitioners and a licensed social worker.
“The Campus Health Center [is] focused specifically on serving our students for the campus, everything from well woman and vaccinations to coughs, colds, sniffles, bumps and bruises,” said Luciana Smith, CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center clinic director.
Broken bones, bruises, and sutures are referred to a hospital or primary care physician, but the CHC is able to help students make the connection to the services they need.
“Many students do not have a primary care physician,” Smith said. “We will be looking at what we can do to network with University of Colorado Hospital and other primary care offices to ensure those students are referred to a clinician for a sustainable follow-up.”
Accommodating a dynamic student body
Accessibility is a major priority for the CHC. Often students at CU Anschutz have rigorous schedules that would keep them from seeing a physical or behavioral professional. To overcome that issue, the CHC is open 7 a.m.–7 p.m., Monday–Friday, and 9 a.m.–1 p.m., Saturday. Slots will be available for walkins as well as appointments, ensuring that the CHC is able to accommodate even the most demanding student schedule.
The waiting room for the Campus Health Center is a space newly designed to accommodate physical and behavioral health patients.
“The greatest thing is that it will be accessible, affordable and convenient care for our students,” said Amy Barton, associate dean for clinical and community affairs for the College of Nursing. “Our practices are structured to care for the whole person, so we tend to do some standard behavioral health screenings, and if necessary we have the ability to not just refer someone to a behavioral health provider, but walk someone across the hall to meet that provider.”
The CHC is able to accommodate as many as 40 patient visits a day for physical health, according to Barton and Smith. In addition, patients carrying student insurance through the university can expect no copays or out-of-pocket expenses for visits to the behavioral nurse practitioners, and copays as low as $10 for primary care physical health.
The CHC’s location affords a unique opportunity for students to take advantage of other services offered in the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center such CUCOLLEGE of NURSING as weight-loss and wellness clinics, visits with registered dietitians, group exercise and fitness facilities, plastic surgery, and more.
“These are all services that will be available to students,” Smith said. “No other clinic in the Denver area can boast this array of services.”
A major collaboration
“This has taken a village,” Barton said. “Not only have we worked closely with the Department of Psychiatry and Student Mental Health, but it has been a collaboration with the Chancellor’s Office, Provost’s Office, College of Nursing, Finance Office, University Physicians Inc., Student Health Insurance and the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center to design services so students can access the right care at the right time at the right price.”
Moving forward, Barton and Smith plan to continue to listen to student feedback in assessing the services the CHC is offering and could possibly offer in the future. The CHC also offers services to the campus community, though the priority remains on delivering care to students.
“We are really looking forward to seeing what develops with this clinic,” Barton said. “We’re anxious to see what happens as the services unfold and get a better sense of what the students are interested in. We will get a better sense of what the need is on campus and learn how we can optimally serve our students.”
Written by Steven Barcus in CU Anschutz Today. Reprinted with permission from University Communications.