Partnership to Give University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Students Direct Access to More Health Services
By Emily Bregel, Chattanooga Times/Free Press, Tenn.
Jul. 31–A “historic” partnership among the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Erlanger hospital and the UT College of Medicine in Chattanooga will give students easier access to expanded and coordinated health care services, hospital and university officials said Wednesday.
The new program, called University Health Services, is “not a fragmented set of as-needed services, but a fully coordinated active team of folks focused around … promotion of wellness, health and active returns for students, student athletes and then faculty and families,” said Erlanger President and CEO Jim Brexler at a hospital news conference.
The partnership officially launches Aug. 1, but students still will access their care from the university’s on-campus student health clinic until new space is cleared in the UT Family Practice building, across the street from Erlanger’s downtown campus on Third Street and Central Avenue.
Students also will continue to pay a $25 health services fee as part of their annual tuition, UTC Chancellor Roger Brown said at the news conference. But instead of paying additional fees at the clinic and then being referred to an outside physician for more treatments, students will be able to get and pay for more treatments directly through the health clinic, officials said. Everything from orthopedics and OB-GYN care to cardiology and general surgery will be offered, they said.
The partnership guarantees that UTC students’ insurance policies will be accepted by Erlanger physicians who are treating them and offers extended evening and weekend hours to patients, Dr. Brown said.
Twenty-three Erlanger physicians, in addition to doctors in training, have agreed to make themselves available for UTC-related appointments, said Todd Bullard, the university’s director of sports medicine.
“Bottom line, we’re going to be adding a whole lot of services that we’ve never had,” he said.
The UTC health clinic also will provide research opportunities and more training avenues for nursing and medical students, Dr. David Seaberg, dean of the UT College of Medicine in Chattanooga, said after the news conference.
For example, the UTC School of Nursing students, who typically help staff the university’s health clinic, now will work alongside UT College of Medicine residents in the clinic, Dr. Seaberg said.
Additionally, by treating injured students-athletes at the UTC health clinic, UT College of Medicine family and internal medicine residents will have more clinical experience in areas such as sports medicine, he said.
“Typically, we’re training docs on this side, nurses on this side, techs on this side. Now we’re going to be working together,” Dr. Seaberg said.
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