Manchester Community College (MCC) and Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN) today announced a new and exciting cooperative agreement that will provide MCC’s students, faculty and staff access to a wide-range of high-quality primary care services – on and off the college campus – beginning this fall.
This unique health system-community college partnership will help promote student health and health literacy with quick and easy access to basic primary care services. Health services will not only be provided to students, faculty and staff on the MCC campus, but also through ECHN’s comprehensive array of facilities throughout Hartford and Tolland counties.
ECHN doctors will be on the Manchester campus two half days a week to provide medical screening and preliminary care to student patients, and to provide appropriate referrals for ongoing care from off-campus specialists. Space for the medical staff will be provided in Great Path Academy building on the MCC campus.
In addition, faculty and staff will continue to benefit from corporate health services, including worker’s compensation services and wellness programs, provided at ECHN’s CorpCare Occupational Health facility which recently moved to South Windsor.
The goal of the collaboration is to provide a health-education component to the campus environment, and to give students – particularly those who do not have their own primary care physician – a convenient and welcoming alternative to treatment in a walk-in clinic or hospital emergency room. Most MCC students have medical insurance that will cover the cost of their care, MCC and ECHN officials say; but financial accommodations for un-insured students will be made so that no one seeking care will be turned away.
The demand for health services by students will likely rise during certain times of the year, particularly when immunizations and physicals are required for admission to the college. Dr. G. Duncan Harris, MCC’s dean of student affairs, said he expects the ECHN physicians will also help raise the college community’s “overall health IQ” by providing an ongoing source of health and wellness information through individual counseling and scheduled community workshops. Other services may evolve through time, he said.
The idea for an on-campus medical service – a rarity for a commuter college in this region – grew “organically” in conversations between MCC and ECHN officials, Harris said. The college used to have a nurse on duty, but the position was eliminated several years ago because of budgetary restraints.
The partnership furthers the goals of both institutions, Dr. Harris said. MCC believes in a “holistic approach to success,” and promoting student health is an important component of achieving overall academic success.
“This unique ‘health center without walls’ concept firmly establishes ECHN’s presence in the campus community and bolsters what has been a strong, growing and successful relationship for the college and our health system,” said Dr. David Neuhaus, MD, ECHN Medical Director. “More importantly, the student body and the hundreds of employees who work at the college will have access to an array of high-quality primary care services our health system is known for providing in eastern Connecticut. We certainly look forward to the upcoming fall semester.”
Student enrollment at MCC, including full-time and part-time students, totaled about 7,500 in 2012. Approximately 80 percent of the student population is under the age of 30 with 40 percent of the students coming from Manchester, East Hartford, Vernon and South Windsor. The college also has approximately 300 employees.