A partnership between Mount St. Mary’s University and Seminary and local health care provider Frederick Health will facilitate enhanced wellness services not only for Mount students, student-athletes, staff and seminarians, but also for residents of northern Frederick County, said William Davies, vice president for business and finance at the Mount.
“We see it as a win-win-win,” Davies said, referring to his Emmitsburg institution, the surrounding community and Frederick Health.
Per the partnership, the Mount is contributing the use of a 1.25-acre portion of land on its property on which Frederick Health will complete a 7,975-square-foot facility, which will essentially function as an urgent care center, Davies said.
Urgent care centers typically offer a range of health services and are designed to serve those who need medical care, but not necessarily emergency care.
Per the partnership agreement, according to Davies, the Mount will control half the improvements on the land, which essentially means half the facility. Students and staff will have access to a range of health services, he added, and while operating hours have not been finalized, the facility will likely be open 12 hours a day, six days a week.
“It’s a wonderful thing, and we’re protecting our interests,” Davies said, noting that the Mount, “being a good Catholic institution,” consulted with a priest to embed key religious directives into the agreement.
Davies said that the partnership grew out of a need. The Mount’s former student wellness center had been staffed by a part-time physician, and when that physician retired, the university decided to revamp its health offerings.
In addition to the increased coverage hours and capacity – the Mount will have its own separate waiting room and examination rooms in the facility – the extension of health services to Mount staff, who were not included in the previous arrangement, represents a step forward, Davies said. Between students and staff, the facility will serve close to 3,000 individuals, he added.
He also noted that the facility will improve the Mount’s care for student-athletes. While the Mount’s teams have physicians to treat on-the-field injuries and provide other care, some of the ancillary services require a modern facility with imaging and other capabilities, Davies said.
In the past, such services were obtained in Frederick, about a half hour from campus, but they will be offered at the new facility moving forward.
“We have spent a lot of time on transportation for some very basic health care services for our athletes,” Davies said. “Now the urgent care center can provide some of the needed imaging and other services.”
According to a press release from Frederick Health, the partnership began in 2018.
“We have been very pleased with our partnership, which has become even stronger during the pandemic and was a major factor in our ability to have students living and learning on campus last year,” said Timothy Trainor, university president, in the release.
According to Davies, the standard challenges of the pandemic were enhanced by the arrival of an unusually large freshman class – 649 when the target was 550 – in the fall of 2020. Davies said the Mount instituted a testing program not only for individual students, in which Frederick Health assisted, but also a wastewater sampling program through which the university could identify “hotspots,” assisted by Frederick County.
“We rebuilt everything based on how we needed to be operating during a pandemic,” Davies explained, adding that “reduced campus density,” an alternating in-person/Zoom system, and even expanded student housing via a local hotel factored into that process.
According to the press release, Frederick Health employs more than 3,300 and “provides a full spectrum of health care and wellness services to support its mission to positively impact the well-being of every individual in our community.”
It serves residents of Frederick County.
Ground was broken Oct. 15 for the urgent care facility; it is expected to open in June 2022.
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