University to launch Nurse Managed Health Center
Allen Prettyman checks a patient's blood pressure.

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9:30 a.m., July 26, 2010----A Nurse Managed Health Center (NMHC) will open on the University of Delaware campus on Monday, Aug. 2, to provide follow-up care for employees who have been injured on the job and to administer job-required physical exams and health screening for employees.

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To be managed by Allen Prettyman, instructor in UD's School of Nursing, the NMHC will be housed in 119 McDowell Hall, with hours from 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. Additional services for UD faculty and staff will be phased in over the next year along with expanded hours of operation.

The center will be staffed by UD nursing faculty who are experienced board-certified nurse practitioners, including Prettyman and Prof. Evelyn Hayes.

Christiana Care Health System (CCHS), one of UD's partners in the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA), will provide infrastructure support such as an electronic medical records system. Dr. Carine Sakr, director of occupational medicine at CCHS, will be the collaborating physician available for immediate consultation as needed.

The NMHC will provide services that UD employees would currently receive at Christiana. If patients need additional services, a streamlined process has been developed for referring them to CCHS and helping them to navigate that health-care system.

“On-campus clinics like this are an excellent way to provide not only convenient health care for our employees,” says Kathleen Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences, “but also an academic learning opportunity for our students and a platform for university-driven, patient-oriented research. We're pleased to be collaborating with Christiana Care on this project, and we look forward to working with them and our other partners in the DHSA to develop additional clinical services in the future.”

Paula Stillman, M.D., senior vice president for special projects at Christiana Care, concurs. “We're excited to collaborate with the University of Delaware on the center and to participate in this new model of care delivery,” she says.

State-of-the-art services will include physical exams, comprehensive vision and hearing screenings, EKGs, respiratory spirometry, blood work, and immunizations. All services will be covered by workers' compensation insurance or health-care insurance in the same way they would be if obtained in an outpatient providers' office, medical aid unit, or testing facility.

“Because we'll be seeing only individuals from the UD community, we hope to provide services with little to no wait time,” Prettyman says. “Our goal is for patients to come in, be seen, and get back to work as quickly as possible. We have a waiting room, but we're hoping that it doesn't get much use.”

Plans call for phasing in prescreening of human subjects for research at UD and offering care to contractors whose employees work at UD. The ultimate goal is for the center to provide primary care to the University community at large. All students, however, will continue to be treated by Student Health Services in UD's Laurel Hall.

“Our long-term vision is to have an entire suite of clinics, where patients can move seamlessly from one to the other for exams, blood work, physical therapy, and so on,” Prettyman says. “We want it to be as interdisciplinary as possible and able to provide the community with cutting-edge, convenient, cost-effective care.”

“Allen Prettyman is to be commended for bringing the NHMC to fruition,” says Kathy Schell, interim director of UD's School of Nursing. “He has worked diligently to set up the physical environment but, more importantly, to develop affiliations and partnerships internal and external to the University which are necessary to promote success for all those involved.”

To contact UD's Nurse-Managed Health Care Center, call (302) 831-0180 or visit the center's website.

Article by Diane Kukich
Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson

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