CHI Franciscan Health and University of Washington Tacoma Form First-of-its-Kind Student Health Services Partnership

Innovative new care model offers increased access and convenience to better fit UW Tacoma students’ lifestyles through six CHI Franciscan urgent care centers and Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care

CHI Franciscan Health, a premier health care provider in the Pacific Northwest, and the University of Washington Tacoma, have formed a groundbreaking new partnership to redesign the University of Washington Tacoma Student Health Services, successfully enhancing and expanding health care services for UW Tacoma students. The “distributive care model” provides students more ways to access health care through six CHI Franciscan Health prompt care facilities throughout the Puget Sound, as well as access to Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care, at no additional cost.

“CHI Franciscan Health is pleased to announce this innovative new partnership with the University of Washington Tacoma,” said Tiffany Sibley, DO, Franciscan Prompt Care medical director. “We value our long-standing relationship with the University of Washington Tacoma, and we are excited to offer this one-of-a-kind distributive care model that provides students access to around-the-clock health care services where they need it, when they need it. We hope this unique care model may be replicated by other commuter campuses across the country to better meet students’ health care needs.”

The new UW Tacoma Student Health Services program, which began on July 5, allows students to receive health services at six Franciscan Prompt Care clinics located in Tacoma, Bonney Lake, Burien, Gig Harbor, Lakewood and Puyallup. Though students can choose the clinic that is most convenient for them, Franciscan Prompt Care at St. Joseph Medical Center, just a half mile up the hill from campus, serves as the new designated hub for Student Health Services. The St. Joseph prompt care team of providers oversees primary care services for eligible students, and students are able to make appointments Monday through Friday for a wide-variety of covered services, including physicals, preventive medicine and behavioral health. Under this unique model, students can also visit the participating Franciscan Prompt Care clinics seven days a week during normal, extended clinic hours.

“The University of Washington Tacoma is thrilled to launch our redesigned Student Health Services partnership with CHI Franciscan Health to better meet the needs of our student population,” said Kathleen Farrell, Interim Co-Vice Chancellor for Student & Enrollment Services. “Many of our students do not live on campus, which is why it is so important that we give them more ways to access the care they need. Thanks to our partnership with CHI Franciscan, we are able to provide this unique health care model that will deliver high quality health services across multiple locations, along with 24-hour virtual urgent care.”

In addition to the six Franciscan Prompt Care locations, Student Health Services provides students access to Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care service. CHI Franciscan Health’s team of board-certified doctors and nurse practitioners are available to UW Tacoma students 24/7 through video chat or over the phone without an appointment to provide consultation, diagnosis and treatment – including prescriptions – if appropriate.

“This is an 86 percent increase in open hours each week over the current clinic schedule,” Farrell added. “By providing access to more locations throughout the week for longer hours, as well as offering 24-hour virtual urgent care, we hope to increase the number of students who benefit from Student Health Services.”

UW Tacoma students live throughout the South Sound and surrounding communities. Fewer than 17 percent of enrolled UW Tacoma students accessed Student Health Services in the existing on-campus clinic location during the 2015-16 school year, and this new care model will improve that number significantly, according to Dr. Sibley.

“Providing care closer to students’ homes will go a long way toward improving their access to primary care,” Dr. Sibley explained. “This new care model was designed with today’s student in mind who has a very busy lifestyle.  The goal of our partnership is to ensure students have access to the care they need, when they need it so they can focus on what they are at UW Tacoma to do: continuing their education,” Sibley said.

CHI Franciscan Health and the University of Washington Tacoma began their partnership in 2010. Franciscan Medical Group, a part of CHI Franciscan, operated the traditional, on-campus Student Health Services clinic for seven years, which will now be more strategically located on St. Joseph Medical Center campus only a half a mile away from campus. The services received under this new distributive care model are funded by the Services & Activities Fee paid by students. As part of their ongoing affiliation, CHI Franciscan will provide on-campus flu vaccine clinics, participate in campus events and new student orientation, and offer quarterly health education speaking events. 

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About CHI Franciscan Health

CHI Franciscan Health is a nonprofit health system based in Tacoma, Washington with $2.6 billion in net revenue and a team of nearly 12,000 doctors, nurses and staff that provide expert, compassionate medical care at eight acute care hospitals and approximately 200 primary and specialty care clinics in Pierce, King and Kitsap counties. This includes St. Anthony Hospital, Gig Harbor; St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood; St. Elizabeth Hospital, Enumclaw; St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way; St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma; Harrison Medical Center, Bremerton and Silverdale; Highline Medical Center, Burien; and Regional Hospital, Burien. Started in 1891 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, today CHI Franciscan Health is one of the largest health systems in Washington state. The system spans more than 1,100 acute care beds, a credentialed medical staff of more than 1,500 including more than 800 employed physicians providing specialties in cardiovascular care, cancer care, orthopedics and sports medicine, neurosciences and women’s care. CHI Franciscan’s mission focuses on creating healthier communities, including caring for the poor and underserved. In 2015, the organization provided $141 million in community benefit, including $10 million in charity care. More information: www.chifranciscan.org.

Section: 
Written: 
July 13, 2017
Media contact: 

Michael Wark, Assistant Vice Chancellor for External Relations, mwark@uw.edu or 253-692-5771