Indiana University Northwest officially unveiled its new Health and Wellness Center on March 2, cutting the ribbon on 10 years of planning and hard work to bring affordable healthcare to the campus community.
The facility, located next to the IU Northwest Dental Clinic in Room 1027 of Dunes Medical/Professional Building, is the result of a joint collaboration between the university and Methodist Hospitals, which provided much of the funding for the clinic’s startup and operations. Dr. Michael McGee, M.D., Chief and Medical Director of Emergency Services for Methodist, serves as the Center’s medical director, and he was joined at Monday’s Grand Opening event by Methodist Hospitals CEO Ian McFadden, IU Northwest Chancellor Bruce Bergland, Center Manager and nursing faculty member Marci Mulcahey, and other College of Health and Human Services officials, as they celebrated the realization of a longstanding campus goal.
“This has been a long, long, long time coming,” School of Nursing Dean Linda Rooda told the audience of students, faculty and community members gathered in the atrium of the Dunes Medical/Professional Building for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Rooda said plans for a campus clinic first were discussed as far back as 25 years ago.
“I just am delighted that it has come to fruition with such a wonderful collaborative effort among Methodist Hospitals, the School of Nursing, and the efforts of Marci and her staff, along with the IU School of Medicine and the College of Health and Human Services. It’s great to have people come together to make something really happen, and I am very thankful for that.”
“This clinic is here, mostly, because I just never accepted ‘no’ for an answer,” said Mulcahey, who has been the Health and Wellness Center’s chief cheerleader and organizer during the past decade. “There’s always a way to find another way around, and that’s basically what I did.”
Rooda, Mulcahey and others also paid homage to two faculty members, now retired, whom they credited for working to advance the clinic. They are retired IU School of Medicine – Northwest Associate Director and Professor Virgil Hoftiezer and former School of Nursing Associate Dean Hazel Malone. Both Hoftiezer and Malone served on the architecture committee that included plans for a clinic in the designs for Dunes Medical/Professional.
“I do want to acknowledge the fact that, when we first started this, we had committee meetings, and those meetings involved people from all the divisions on this campus," Mulcahey said. "They were very supportive. The business school created a marketing plan for us.”
The cost of an office visit at the Health and Wellness Center is $20, and a physical exam costs $35. Patients may also take a TB skin test for $5. Other tests and immunizations are available, with advanced notice, for the cost of the test or vaccine. Some medications, such as antibiotics, may also be provided at cost, but the clinic does not carry any narcotics and will not write prescriptions for them.
The Center also provides blood pressure screening and monitoring, along with birth control counseling and prescriptions. The Center is not able to process insurance information, but patients are provided with Superbills that they may submit to their own insurance providers for reimbursement.
The Center’s hours of operation for the spring semester are: Mondays from 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m.; Tuesdays from 1:30 p.m. until 4 p.m.; Wednesdays from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.; and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Chancellor Bergland, who joined Mulcahey and McFadden in cutting the ribbon, noted that planning for the Health and Wellness Center predates even his arrival at IU Northwest.
“It’s a terrific testament to people’s tenacity, and their belief in the importance of providing this kind of service to our students, faculty and staff, that you all stayed with it,” he said. “And now, here we are.
“This facility, of course, is a collaborative effort,” the Chancellor continued. “And, in fact, it wouldn’t be up and running if it were not for our friends and partners at Methodist Hospitals. They have been instrumental in establishing this facility; they have provided resources and in-kind support, without which we couldn’t be doing this today.”
McFadden hailed the new clinic as just the latest development in a longstanding beneficial partnership with IU Northwest.
“It’s a great time for Methodist Hospitals to be able to partner with the university,” he said. “We’re really excited about this.”
McFadden noted that, on Feb. 27, Methodist Hospitals hosted a press conference where hospital and university officials announced the formation of a task force to study the feasibility of establishing a new hospital facility that would potentially serve as a region trauma center and would also act as a partner in medical education with the IU School of Medicine – Northwest and the IU Northwest College of Health and Human Services. The Indiana Business Research Center, which is part of the IU Kelley School of Business, is conducting a study to assess the demographics, level of need, and other logistical data related to that concept.
“Methodist Hospitals is here not only for the community of Gary and for Northwest Indiana, but we’re here for Indiana University, and Indiana University is here for us,” McFadden said on Monday. “We want to do a lot of things together. This clinic is a big step, because this clinic, basically, is a joint venture partnership between the hospital and the university.”
McGee joined many others in giving Mulcahey much of the credit for making the new Health and Wellness Center a reality.
“A lot of students here don’t have healthcare, so these services are very important,” McGee said. “It’s important to have this kind of facility here.
“The clinic is going to be run by Marci and the other nurse practitioners,” the doctor added. “If they need me, I’ll be here.”
University officials said the clinic has seen a sizable number of students and employees come through for a variety of services since first opening in January. Although the Center will only provide services to students, faculty and staff, Mulcahey hopes to offer community programs in the future on health issues such as diabetes and obesity.