Clark State Community College and Mercy Health have entered into a Letter of Intent, outlining Mercy Health’s intention to open a new health clinic on Clark State’s Springfield campus on Leffel Lane in the spring of 2019.
“The Board of Trustees wanted to ensure Clark State was planning for future demographics and enrollment changes as well as maximizing facilities,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “Many students and employees have shared their desire to have more robust health services on campus. Through Clark State’s community engagement in the Promise Neighborhood on the south side of Springfield, we also determined that the part of Springfield that we serve is underserved in terms of healthcare services.”
Clark State began accepting bid proposals for the health clinic in December of 2017, and in January of this year decided that Mercy Health’s proposal was the most responsive. Larry Wakefield, interim vice president for business affairs for Clark State, said the College was looking for a strategic partner to invest in the development and operation of a health care facility.
“We were interested in a partner who will engage our students and faculty in a positive learning experience, as well as enhance our services,” he said.
It is anticipated that the new health clinic will be located in the Applied Science Center and will serve as the primary medical care facility for Clark State students, faculty, staff and the community at large. It will also likely be used for student clinical experiences and internships.
Mercy Health will own and operate the clinic, which will initially be staffed with an on-site nurse practitioner. The nurse practitioner will provide services pursuant to a collaboration agreement with a Mercy Health collaborating physician. Mercy Health anticipates that the clinic growth will necessitate the recruitment of additional physicians and services.
“Mercy Health is proud to be a strategic partner with Clark State Community College in the development of a health clinic on campus,” said Matt Caldwell, CEO of Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center. “A key part of our mission is to provide care to the underserved. The location of this clinic ensures that students, faculty, staff and residents of the south side of Springfield will have access to important primary care services where previously there were none. We’re also excited about the opportunity to advance the education of students pursuing careers in healthcare.”
Clark State employs approximately 235 full-time employees with an additional 400 adjunct and/or contract employees. Approximately 6,400 students are enrolled during a given semester, and the college serves nearly 9,000 unduplicated students over the course of the year.
“Clark State’s vision is to positively affect healthcare outcomes in Springfield and on the south side,” said Blondin. “A healthier Springfield equals a healthier workforce and healthier economy.”