What is the Bridges Collaborative Care Clinic and who does it serve?
The Bridges Collaborative Care Clinic (BCCC) is a fully student-run, inter-professional, free clinic aiming to provide care to the underserved communities in the Portland area. Students from Portland State University, OHSU and Oregon State University, have partnered with Transition Projects Inc., a non-profit in the heart of Portland, to build the clinic from the ground up.
Supervised by faculty, students in the BCCC will provide health screenings, basic primary care, triage decisions for emergent care, health education courses, basic dental care (once the dental clinic is open), medical education and help navigating and locating necessary resources.
Why was the BCCC started?
Transition Projects Inc. identified a need to increase access to health care for its participant population and reached out to OHSU’s School of Medicine with the idea of building a free clinic. OHSU’s Senior Associate Dean for Education then began conversations with OHSU disciplines, Oregon State University and Portland State University about what the clinic could look like. Three students from the various universities then came together to take on the project of a student-run clinic and began organizing an inter-professional leadership team dedicated to the project.
The BCCC has three aims: (1) providing basic health care services to TPI participants experiencing homelessness; (2) offering students valuable hands-on opportunities through structured community-based learning experiences; and (3) proving an entry point to healthcare that can bridge the gap to established primary care.
What makes Bridges unique?
The clinic is Oregon’s first multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary student-run free clinic. No other free, student-run clinic to date has begun as a truly inter-professional endeavor from the very beginning.
We have students from many different specialties including, but not limited to:
- Public Health Management
- Public Health Promotion
- Social work
- Physician Assistant
- Community Health
What is the clinic model? Are you a primary care clinic?
We are much more of a transitional care clinic, serving as the first point of contact for those with limited ability to gain access to existing services. The goal of our clinic is to support and guide our patients in navigating the healthcare system and to assist them in establishing primary care elsewhere in the community.
Where will be/is the clinic located?
The clinic will be located in the Clark Center Annex, directly adjacent to the Clark Center, 1431 S.E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The medical clinic, mental health and various social services will operate out of the Clark Center Annex site.
However, the dental clinic will be located in a permanent space in the Bud Clark Commons in Northwest Portland. The dental clinic will have two dental chairs and be set up full-time.
When will the clinic be open for business?
The first official clinic day was October 7, 2017.
How often is the clinic open, and how many people will you see per day?
For now, the clinic will be open every other Saturday of each month. See the Bridges calendar for dates. Upon growing, the clinic plans to expand the operating hours to every Saturday.
The BCCC medical clinic is equipped to see 6 to 8 patients per day, while the BCCC dental clinic is equipped to accommodate 8 to 10 patients per day on a first-come, first-served basis. This data to be updated as clinic capacity is established after opening.
Will patients need to make appointments to be seen? Or do you accept walk-ins?
We will begin as a walk-in clinic only. As we grow, we will begin to take appointments.
Is the care at the clinic free for patients?
Clinic services will be free for all patients, regardless of insurance coverage. The clinic staff will work with uninsured patients to connect them to Oregon Health Plan application assistance to get Medicaid coverage.
For those that are currently covered by Medicare or Medicaid, the clinic can help connect these patients to long-term primary care options through their current coverage so that free care resources can be used to serve as many patients as possible.
Will Transition Projects Inc. residents be given priority over non-TPI clients?
Initially BCCC will be open to TPI residents only. Starting January 2018, we will be offering care on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of TPI residence status.
Will there be free items passed out to participants (i.e. toothbrushes, socks, etc.)?
Due to the size of the clinic and lack of storage space, the clinic will only be handing out items during special events such as educational classes. However, our participant navigators plan to work with neighboring organizations to ensure that participants’ needs are met.
Who is the population that the BCCC will target?
The clinic aims to serve the population around the clinic’s location on Portland eastside. Because this area is severely underserved with almost no low-income clinics nearby, Bridges will aim to serve those of the area first.
Because of its proximity to the Clark Center, the BCCC will provide easy access for the center’s 90 male, short-term residents who are working for find jobs and permanent housing.
How did you determine the needs of those needing your services?
In 2016, a needs assessment of the residents in TPI was performed. When asked what was needed to be healthy, participants answered:
- Medical services
- Mental health support
- Resource navigation
When asked what was preventing participants from accessing services they needed, transportation was reported to be the most significant barrier. Part of the reason for this is the lack of low-income clinics on Portland’s eastside. Because the BCCC is located in central southeast Portland, very close to public transportation, the clinic has a unique opportunity to serve a community lacking access.
Is the Bridges Clinic a non-profit?
We are currently in the process of applying for a 501c3.
Who is the community partner you are working with?
Transition Projects Inc. is a nonprofit organization that serves multiple areas around Portland. This organization supports people experiencing homelessness by helping with the transition into affordable housing.
Who are you interested in working with and referring participants to for primary care?
We are in the process connecting with organizations such as Central City Concern, Project Access, Multnomah County Health Department, Outside In, Virginia Garcia, MTI, Oregon Primary Care Association and Street Roots, among others, to evaluate additional partnerships.
How is the clinic funded?
The project has received some initial sources of funding, including, the OHSU School of Medicine 2016/2017 Bacon Endowment Fund, various OHSU School of Medicine health grants, and outside donations. The clinic is also funded by generous contributions to our GoFundMe fundraising page.
What items is the clinic in need of for donations?
o Medical equipment
o Thermometers and covers
o Otoscopes (ears) and ophthalmoscopes (eyes)
o Tongue depressors
o Reflex hammers
o Wound dressings
o Dental equipment
o Drills and burs
o Dental Instruments
o Materials (amalgam and composites)
o Local Anesthetics
o Hygiene items (toothbrushes, floss, prophy cups and paste)
o Bandaging (gauze, cotton rolls, etc)
o Dental radiology equipment
o Storage units
o Hygiene and clothing items for patients
o Items for handing out to service seekers (i.e. toothbrushes, travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, unused socks and underwear, hats and gloves, sunscreen, etc.)
How can I donate to the clinic?
The BCCC is gladly accepting any items on the above list. Additionally, there is an active GoFundMe campaign for monetary donations found here.
As a student, how do I get involved?
Please see our “Get Involved” page to sign up as a student volunteer in our clinic.
As a provider, faculty member or facility, how do I get involved?
The BCCC is currently seeking clinics that are willing to accept BCCC patients for primary care as well as additional faculty members to advise on the referral network.
The clinic is also seeking additional faculty members for the supervision of students (1-2 faculty spaces from each discipline in medical, nursing, dental, pharmacy, social work) to volunteer their time on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning in early October. The clinic students are able to work with specific faculty schedules, asking that faculty members come in once a month to once every two months, dependent upon the student and patient demand.
For the medical clinic, faculty supervisors must be licensed to treat adults in a primary care setting to supervise medical students. For now, any nurses who wish to supervise nursing students will be required to go through the indemnification process with Multnomah County. Nurse supervisors will also be required to complete a preceptor application through OHSU’s School of Nursing.
Please see our “Get Involved” page to sign up.