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Employee Health Clinic to Open on Campus Feb. 27

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Lisa Nugent photos, Photographic Services.

Faculty and staff will no longer have to leave campus during the work day for medical care, x-rays, and routine lab tests. Beginning Feb. 27 employees will have access to their own clinic at Health Services which will not only offer convenient, high-quality care but also help reduce costs.

The employee clinic has its own space, separate from student health services, and will have a separate entrance once the new business college is complete. During the academic year the clinic will be open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. For radiology, pharmacy, and lab hours visit the employee clinic site.

“We know that improved access to primary care prevents illness, modifies risk and helps to better manage disease,” said Kevin Charles, executive director of Health Services. “Making it easier and more convenient for our employees to access high-quality health care will lead to a healthier population and better productivity.”

Charles added that a survey of faculty and staff about a year ago found a majority would use an on-campus clinic that was separate from students.

The clinic is not a replacement for primary care, but is more like an urgent care facility. Care for acute infections (ear and sinus infections, pneumonia and conjunctivitis), injuries (lower back pain, sprains, and strains) and other problems like rashes, insect bites and headaches will be available.

Staff at the Employee Health Clinic include (l-r) Kathy Spiers, medical assistant; Carol Merkle, LPN; Dr. Gladi Porsche, medical director; Dr. Gerald Collins, staff physician; Denise Cingolani, APRN, adult nurse practitioner; and Gail Wingate, APRN, family nurse practitioner.

Staff at the Employee Health Clinic include (l-r) Kathy Spiers, medical assistant; Carol Merkle, LPN; Dr. Gladi Porsche, medical director; Dr. Gerald Collins, staff physician; Denise Cingolani, APRN, adult nurse practitioner; and Gail Wingate, APRN, family nurse practitioner.

No referral from a primary care physician is necessary for employees with Harvard Pilgrim insurance through USNH. Employees with other coverage should check with their insurance to see if a referral is necessary. At this time only current employees of USNH can use the clinic, not dependents or retirees. In addition, lab work, radiology and a pharmacy are available. The UNH pharmacy offers many generic prescription drugs most often used by employees for $5, less than the co-pay for many prescription drugs using the Caremark plan. In addition, over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol, cough and cold medicines, vitamins, eye drops and nasal spray are sold at the pharmacy as well, generally for less than comparable retail prices.

In addition to improving access to health care for employees, another goal of the pilot project is to reduce the nearly $50 million a year UNH alone spends on medical benefits.
“Medical costs continue to rise on average 10 percent a year,” said Dick Cannon, vice president of finance and administration. “That just isn’t sustainable. It is imperative that we find new and innovative ways to cut costs and piloting an on-campus employee clinic is one step in that process.”

One area where the university hopes to see an immediate savings is in laboratory tests. A comprehensive lab workup performed in an independent lab like Lab Corp or Quest averages $15. The same test averages from $92 to $146 at local hospitals. “There are limited non-hospital options for lab and radiology services in the state which makes it very difficult for us to achieve that savings,” said Amy Schwartz, director of the university’s Health Care Cost Containment initiative. “By providing it right here on campus we can better control overall cost while providing our employees a convenience that could translate into less expensive benefits for them in the future.”

If the three-year pilot program is successful it may be expanded to include on-site physical and occupational therapy, among other services.

While no employee will be required to use the clinic those involved in its development believe the convenience and quality will bring people in. Faculty and staff will be able to schedule appointments online, often same day, and reserved parking is available for patients. If requested, clinic staff will also coordinate all care with the employee’s primary care provider for continuity of care, and online secure messaging of lab test results will be available.

During the first months of operation clinic staff will assess what works for employees and what doesn’t. The grand opening will be in the fall and reflect any “fine tuning” to address additional employee needs. Employees who use the clinic are encouraged to provide feedback about clinic services to assist staff in planning future programming.

For more information or to schedule an appointment call the employee clinic at 2-HLTH, e-mail healthservices@unh.edu or visit http://www.unh.edu/health-services/employee-clinic/.