Bridge Community Health Clinic Executive Summary

www.bridgeclinic.org 

THE ORGANIZATION: Bridge Community Health Clinic, founded in 1995, meets the unique needs of the  area’s underserved, uninsured and refugee populations, providing primary medical care, mental health  services, and dental care. Bridge Clinic operates three clinics in Wausau, one clinic in Merrill, and one clinic  in Antigo, and provides in-school mental health counseling at 13 sites in Lincoln and Marathon counties.  Bridge Clinic is the primary health provider for refugees arriving through ECDC, the largest dental provider  in the area that accepts Medicare/Medicaid, and the sole provider for emergency dental care for inmates  in Marathon, Lincoln and Langlade county jails. In 2023 they acquired Peaceful Solutions Counseling,  preserving the domestic violence and AODA programs. Bridge Clinic is the only local healthcare  organization that provides fully integrated primary, dental, and behavioral health care; sliding fee  discounts; and a dental wheelchair lift. 

 

THE PROJECT: Funding will create the Salus Center (Latin: safety, salvation, welfare; Roman goddess of  safety and wellbeing) in a 1,680 sq. ft. space at the Wausau Clinic to open within two years. The space will  provide two “care pods” for patients to meet with all providers(primary care, nurses, lab, dental hygienist,  behavioral health, patient assistance, interpreters), eliminating the need for families to travel throughout  the facility. The target population are children 0-17 years old, refugee families, and patients needing more  intensive team-based care. The “pod” will accommodate a family of 4-5, clinic staff, and interpreting staff  in the same space simultaneously. The Salus Center will be the first step in a major addition creating similar  “care pods” in a future building expansion. Costs: $156,000 renovation (+$15,000 contingency); $4,400  tablet mobile cart; $2,000 signage; $4,000 furnishings; and misc. Total: $183,000; $80,000 already raised. 

 

THE NEED: Bridge Clinic spent a year piloting this model of care in their primary care department but  without a space configured specifically for this model. Two “care pods” will allow the Clinic to conduct  two of these visits at one time, doubling capacity. This model of care reduces barriers, delivers wraparound supports in one visit, and reduces anxiety for large families and individuals needing to access  multiple providers. For example, refugee families can stay in the same “pod” for all interactions with  providers, which can take several hours. The model aims to improve overall outcomes for all patients. The  Clinic sees 1,000 youth patients and 185 refugee patients annually, with an estimated 200 new refugee patients arriving each year. The renovated space will enable the Clinic to accommodate these patients. 

 

USE OF IMPACT100 FUNDS: Impact100 funds will combine with another (smaller) grant to fully fund the  Salus Center renovation. Two “care pods” will be created in an existing, unused hall of the dental Clinic,  creating a quieter, larger and warmer-feeling space for families. Sliding doors, portable technology  (iPads/screens on mobile kiosks), a specialty children’s waiting/playing space, and colorful murals will  create functionality and privacy and ease the stress on families, and increase efficiency for providers. 

 

FUTURE EXPECTATIONS/SUSTAINABILITY: The Clinic has a relationship with a grant funder that is  expected to donate $40,000/year annually to use if needed; operational costs will be managed in the  Clinic’s annual budget. Upon the completion of the upcoming 32,000 sq. ft. building expansion, the Salus  Center will retain its Impact100 funded purpose as a specialty wing for complex and specialty care needs. 

FROM THE GRANT COMMITTEE: The Salus Center design and care model will be the first of its kind in the  greater Wausau Area! This project sets the foundation for whole-person care on a much larger scale and fills a need in our community; it is compassionate, one-of-a-kind, holistic, innovative and integrative.

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