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14 July 2006

JSU Closes Nursing Clinic after 25 Years

The Jacksonville State University College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) has closed the Nursing Center Clinic in Wallace Hall after more than 25 years due to a federal ruling that restricts distribution of Title X Family Planning medications and supplies.

Health departments are operating as usual, but satellite clinics throughout the nation have been affected.

According to JSU's Dr. Sarah V. Latham, dean of nursing, a recent ruling by the United States Department of Health and Human Services "disqualified" satellite clinics that are not official branches of state health departments from receiving federally funded family planning supplies and medications.

The CNHS Nursing Center Clinic functioned as a satellite of the Calhoun County Health Department even though it was staffed by JSU employees and housed in the university.  This collaborative arrangement allowed the Nursing Center Clinic to provide low or no cost health care services because family planning and immunization supplies were provided by the health department.

"Federal support, through Title X funding, provided the framework for the operation," said Dr. Latham. "We've looked at every option for keeping the clinic open. Unfortunately, just providing family planning, without federal support, would cost JSU over $100 per patient.  We don't have the infrastructure for third party billing.

"It is with regret and sadness that we announce the closing of our clinic.  I am pleased, however, that the Calhoun County Health Department will continue to offer WIC services in the nursing building every Thursday."

WIC is the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. JSU will continue to provide space, phone, and Internet service to the health department's WIC program. Clients can contact the WIC office in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences on Thursdays at 782-5432.

Patients can continue to receive health care services, including family planning, immunizations and WIC service through the Calhoun County Public Health Department, 3400 McClellan Blvd., 237-7523.  JSU students are eligible for a full array of health services through the JSU Student Health Center, Williams Building, 782-5310.

To obtain a copy of medical records or to transfer medical records to a health care provider, patients' written permission is required. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences will have extended hours (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) on July 24, July 26, August 1, and 3.

Parents must obtain "Blue slips" -- the forms that verify immunizations and that are required by school officials as a condition of enrollment -- from the Calhoun County Health Department.

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