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March 31, 2016

Faculty & staff health center to open

A walk-in health and wellness clinic for Pitt employees is opening in April in the Medical Arts Building.

The UPMC MyHealth@Work center will be open to faculty and staff who are classified as regular full- or part-time Pitt employees.

There will be no co-pay and the clinic will not be limited to those with UPMC health insurance, said John Kozar, assistant vice chancellor, Human Resources.

A UPMC team made up of a certified registered nurse practitioner, a nurse and a medical assistant will staff the clinic.

They will provide basic primary care for conditions such as colds, fever, flu, headaches, sore throats, nausea, rashes, sinusitis, strains and sprains, minor cuts, sunburn or urinary tract infections.

The clinic will coordinate with, not take the place of, an employee’s primary care physician, Kozar said.

“The convenience will be outstanding,” he said. “We’ve all been there: You get a little sick and call the doctor. They can squeeze you in in a day or two, but you’d really like to be seen now.”

The center isn’t just for those who become ill during the workday. Its staff will provide routine services such as allergy shots, vaccinations, suture removal, weight monitoring and regular blood pressure checks.

“There are a lot of services you might need while on campus that can be done more efficiently here,” Kozar said.

In addition to walk-in convenience and a central location, the clinic will reduce individuals’ out-of-pocket costs and reduce the University’s health care costs overall. “A PCP visit costs about $85 with a $25 co-pay. It all adds up,” Kozar said.

Productivity gains, too. Instead of taking a half-day off work to accommodate a doctor’s office visit, employees often will be in and out of the clinic in less than 40 minutes, said Kristin Hasley, onsite services program manager at UPMC WorkPartners. The clinic won’t take appointments, but users will be able to call ahead to inquire about wait times.

If a patient needs stitches or has a condition too serious to treat at the clinic, staff will triage then send the patient to an emergency room or urgent care clinic.
Workplace clinics have proved to be lifesavers elsewhere, Hasley said, citing cases in which an employee complained of not feeling well, only to discover a heart attack was underway.

Wellness is another facet of clinic services.

Clinic staff will help connect Pitt employees to wellness resources such as improving diet, activity levels and stress management as part of UPMC’s “Rx for Wellness,” Hasley said.

Said Kozar: “We also want to promote preventive services. We want to go beyond it being a place you go when you’re sick, but also to go when you want to lead a healthier lifestyle.”

The initial target is to draw 15-20 people per day, Kozar said. “The more participation we have, the more cost-effective it will be,” he said.

Kozar said there’s no plan for similar clinics at Pitt’s regional campuses because of their small size. However, Human Resources is looking into the feasibility of providing similar services by other means. Regional campus faculty and staff may use the Pittsburgh campus clinic, he added.

The center will be located in renovated space on the fifth floor of the Medical Arts Building, 3708 Fifth Avenue. Hours will be 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. The center phone is 412-647-4949.

Clinic services will begin sometime this month, though a specific start date has not been set. A grand opening celebration is planned for April 28 with tours, food, a raffle and giveaways.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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