Construction crews are putting the final touches on the interior of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's new outpatient clinic at Midtown Center on Milwaukee's northwest side.
When it opens on July 18, the 20,000 square-foot clinic at 5433 W. Fond du Lac Ave. which was built into a space previously occupied by Office Depot, will begin offering pediatric and adolescent primary care, behavioral health care, and, eventually dental care.
The dental clinic, which occupies 3,000 square-feet of space on the east side of the building, will open this fall.
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The clinic will replace the Downtown Health Center at 1020 N. 12th St.
The new clinic is a brick-and-mortar continuation of a program CHW launched in 2012 called Population Health Management and Payment Innovation, which is designed to integrate physicians and nurses into low-income neighborhoods, conduct research on best-practice methods, improve wellness, prevent illness and test new payment models.
The Midtown Center clinic is the largest of its primary care clinics in Milwaukee, with 8 full-time and 7 part-time doctors, as well as a staff of nurse practitioners, a psychologist and medical students.
The students will be volunteers called "clinical navigators" who will help connect families with certain services -- such as food banks or shelters to protect them from domestic violence.
"These are students who are either in a master's program in health or maybe they're (registered nurses) or they're finishing their RN or they're physicians assistants," said Katrina Jenkins, who oversees operations at six CHW clinics in Milwaukee. "They volunteer their time to come in and they help us with social needs."
The clinic also has shared laboratory and work stations with computer equipment for doctors and staff.
Jenkins said the Downtown Health Center is being relocated to the Fond Du Lac Avenue clinic for a few reasons. Chief among them: the Downtown Health Center was too small and the facilities needed an upgrade. The location was also a problem.
"When you look around that area, Marquette has expanded and there's not as many homes as there used to be, so we actually did a zip code analysis," Jenkins said. "Most of our families coming there live in this zip code. that was one of the factors. Then we did research that there are many families in this zip code who don't have a pediatrician. We wanted to become part of the community that we service."
To further address and monitor the health needs of pediatric patients on the northwest side, Jenkins said CHW has also implemented a school nursing program that places CHW nurses in certain schools and gives them access to the hospital system's electronic records system (from Verona-based Epic Systems Corp.). The program allows nurses to communicate directly with a child's primary care doctor without leaving the school.
"There are few if any institutions in the country using Epic to connect school nurses directly with primary care doctors at a children's hospital," said CHW spokesperson Andrew Brodzeller.