Newswise — The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System will open the doors to a new Mile Square Health Center Jan. 6.
The five-story, 122,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is the first federally qualified health center in the Chicago area to offer urgent care and specialty care, including mammography services. More than 76,000 patient visits are anticipated in the first year of operation.
“UI Health is committed to reducing health disparities in under-served populations,” says Jerry Bauman, interim vice president of health affairs at UI Health and dean of the UIC College of Pharmacy. “We are very proud to be able to offer an expanded range of services at our newest center, which very much reflects our core mission to provide quality care for all patients.”
Construction of the new health center, at the corner of Roosevelt Road and Wood Street, began a year ago. The new facility will serve as the new headquarters for the Mile Square Health Centers, comprising 12 sites throughout Chicago, Cicero and South Shore managed by UI Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“This is a major accomplishment for Mile Square and its community board of directors. It has been seven years in the making,” said Henry Taylor, executive director of Mile Square Health Centers. “Accomplishing this goal allows us to continue Mile Square’s 40-plus years’ legacy of providing comprehensive, cost effective and compassionate care to high-risk, vulnerable communities, regardless of their ability to pay.”
“This newest Mile Square center represents a step forward in the evolution of federally qualified health centers,” said Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice president for community based practice at UI Health. “By providing advanced care beyond just the primary and preventive-care services that these kinds of community clinics have offered over the last 20 years, we’re elevating the model to what I like to call ‘primary care plus.’”
About 200,000 residents in the new center’s service area will become eligible for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Winn expects the center will see many of these patients, who may have put off seeing a doctor for lack of insurance.
In addition to primary care, preventive care, obstetrics and gynecology physicians and pediatricians, patients can see specialists in ophthalmology, psychiatry, otolaryngology, endocrinology, pulmonology and cardiology at the new center.
“Patients don’t have to make multiple appointments at different locations to get themselves taken care of,” said Winn. “You can see your primary care doctor, visit a specialist, and pick up your prescription – all in one place, in a single visit." Patients whose needs extend beyond what Mile Square can provide will be referred for care at UI Hospital, two blocks away.
Mile Square’s first floor will house mammography, optometry and pharmacy services, with an on-site laboratory for medical tests. An urgent care center, with access to X-ray and ultrasound imaging, will be located on the first floor through a separate entrance.
The Urgent Care Center will open Feb. 3 with hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays, with expanded hours in the near future. Treating patients who don’t require the advanced care of an ER at the Urgent Care Center should reduce the number of patients seen at the UI Health emergency department and save costs.
The second floor will house 43 examination rooms for Mile Square’s primary-care practice, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology. Specialists will also see patients on the second floor. Two telemedicine rooms can link patients to psychiatric specialists off-site. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will also have space on the first floor to provide education on breast feeding and nutritional support.
The third, fourth and fifth floors will remain unfinished but are expected to be built out over the next several months. Dental services are planned for the third floor, and community-based research and education could claim space on the fourth and fifth floors.
The new building was funded in part by a $12 million competitive grant awarded to UIC for Mile Square for the construction of new federally qualified health centers under the Affordable Care Act.
The facility was designed by Moody-Nolan Architects, the largest African-American architectural firm in the U.S. The green building will meet LEED Silver standards for energy and water conservation on opening day, according to the UIC Office of Capital Programs, and may achieve Gold status when the building is further reviewed.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. will be held at the building, 1220 S. Wood St. For more information, call (312) 996-1789.