Officials from Passavant Area Hospital, the Morgan County Health Department and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine announced a new Jacksonville family medicine clinic yesterday afternoon.
The SIU Center for Family Medicine- Jacksonville will open at 345 West State Street this summer. It will be overseen by SIU School of Medicine’s Center for Family and Community Medicine, based in Springfield. Passavant providers and health department medical staff will work on site.
Representatives from the health department, hospital and school all expressed excitement about the partnership yesterday. We spoke to Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter and Passavant CEO Dough Rahn.
“This will expand our capabilities for health care at the health department, and for the community. It’s going to be a huge step towards increasing access to care in Morgan County,” Bainter says.
“I think it’s going to be a great advantage to Jacksonville and Morgan County over the long term to have SIU as a partner in this community. They’ve demonstrated success in Quincy and Springfield in implementing federally-qualified health centers,” says Rahn.
“And the health department here, we’re blessed that our leaders in the health department and the county commissioners are innovative, and they’re willing to reach out and seek new ways to provide care and services that weren’t previously available.”
Rahn noted that healthcare access was one of the top priorities indicated by those who responded to a recent community health survey from the hospital.
The center will also be a site for resident physicians, says Iris Wesley, the CEO of the SIU program. Medical students and residents would be in rotation, and this work would go towards their degrees.
“It gives us an opportunity to meet both of our missions. One mission is to serve underserved populations, and the other is to provide training for family medicine residents and medical students and other types of allied health. It will allow us to do both at the same time,” says Wesley.
Wesley says the collaboration will provide general primary care services for adults and children, as well as access to referral to behavioral health, psychiatry, optometry, podiatry, oral health and other specialty care. She estimates the center will see about 1,500 patients annually.