The nurse-managed health clinic developed after Hurricane Ike to provide needed care for the indigent and underserved will expand services with a $1.5 million federal grant awarded to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

The grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide $500,000 a year for the next three years to the clinic at St. Vincent’s House in Galveston. The UTMB nurse-managed health clinic will expand its comprehensive primary care services to children and the elderly and begin accepting insured patients. 

The nurse-managed clinic was initially established two years ago with funding from the UTMB Office of Health Policy and Legislative Affairs. Since then, the clinic has provided assistance to almost 2,000 patients a year from Galveston and the surrounding area.  

These funds will allow UTMB Health to provide additional services to the community, according to Pamela Watson, dean of the School of Nursing. “As the nation grapples with expanded health care delivery, nurse-managed clincs will play a vital role,” she said.

“This grant affirms the value of the services we are providing,” said Kathryn Fiandt, professor and associate dean in the School of Nursing and the grant’s principal author. “Not only will we be able to expand, we will also be able to conduct research to study the impact of the services provided by nurse practitioners and nurse case managers on health disparities seen with vulnerable people such as the uninsured and people living in poverty.”

The grant is one of 10 awarded nationally to fund nurse-managed health clinics. These clinics, managed by advanced practice nurses, provide primary care or wellness services to the underserved. They also serve as valuable clinical training sites for students in primary care and enhance nursing practice by increasing the number of clinical teaching sites for interdisciplinary primary and community health students.

St. Vincent’s House is a non-profit social service agency providing comprehensive social services and community outreach programs for the entire family. The clinic was recently ciited as one of five nurse-led innovative primary care programs in the nation in “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change Advancing Health,” a new report by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.