JOHNSON CITY (Posted Oct. 11, 2012) – East Tennessee State University dedicated the new Johnson City Community Health Center (JCCHC) today, unveiling a $6.8 million, state-of-the-art facility that will offer patients a wide spectrum of health care services under one roof.
The JCCHC replaces and builds on the legacy of the Johnson City Downtown Clinic (JCDC), which got its start in 1990 in the basement of the Salvation Army.
From those modest beginnings, the JCDC went on to serve tens of thousands of patients in three downtown locations over the course of two decades. The JCCHC will open its doors Friday at 8 a.m. to accept its first patients.
Faculty, staff and students from the university joined leaders from the business community and elected public officials to cut the ribbon on the new clinic, which was funded by a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It is located at 2151 Century Lane, behind Woodridge Hospital off North State of Franklin Road.
As has been the case since the founding of that first clinic downtown, the JCCHC will be managed by the ETSU College of Nursing, which provides the board-certified nurse practitioners who deliver most of the primary and preventive care. The college formed a clinical partnership with the ETSU College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, and the two schools collaborated on the HRSA grant that funded construction of the clinic.
The size of the facility – more than double the size of that it replaced – as well as ETSU’s focus on interprofessional education and health care delivery will yield significant new benefits for patients. Other programs from the university and the Academic Health Sciences Center at ETSU will deliver services at the clinic, and ETSU students training under faculty supervision will see patients there as well.
“The name is new, the location is new and the building is new, but the mission remains the same,” said Dr. Wendy Nehring, dean of the College of Nursing. “The Johnson City Community Health Center will continue to uphold the proud tradition of the Johnson City Downtown Clinic. We will deliver expert primary and preventive care to each and every person who needs it. And now, with this new facility, we can offer more services to patients than ever before.”
The JCCHC is classified as a Community Health Center (CHC), and there are 1,200 such CHCs spread across the 50 U.S. states. But there are few that can match the scope of services available at the JCCHC, which has received the prestigious classification of being a Federally Qualified Health Center.
Faculty members from the departments of Allied Health Sciences, Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, and Physical Therapy, all housed in the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, will deliver new services at the clinic. These new services include radiology, physical therapy, nutrition counseling and education, respiratory therapy, speech-language pathology and audiology. Dental hygiene and dental services will soon be added, and social work and psychological services will be available as well.
“Our college faculty members are excited to be part of a clinic that’s on the leading edge of interprofessional patient care,” said Dr. Nancy Scherer, dean of the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences. “This integrated model of allied health and primary care makes it more convenient for patients, and the fact that they will have increased access makes it more likely they’ll seek and receive the care they need.”
Originally founded to serve the homeless population, the JCDC evolved to a clinic that primarily served the uninsured, the underinsured and migrant farm workers. It has been evolving ever since, and while the JCCHC still serves as a health care safety net for the region, it also sees patients of all ages who have health insurance, including Medicare and TennCare.
The College of Nursing will continue to serve the homeless population at the Johnson City Day Center, 202 W. Fairview Ave. It also collaborates with Johnson City Public Housing to operate Partners for Health, a satellite clinic of the JCCHC in the Keystone Community.
Hours at the JCCHC are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. Appointments are encouraged but walk-in visits are welcome. To schedule an appointment, call (423) 926-2500.