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The Washington University Clinical Associates network includes 23 practices with 116 healthcare providers
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is known worldwide for its excellent specialist physicians, but those much closer to campus may not be aware that the school also offers a growing network of physicians. exceptional pediatric and primary care services in communities across St. Louis State. Louis region.
Launched in 2004 with an adult internal medicine practice, the Washington University Clinical Associates (WUCA) network now includes 23 practices with 116 healthcare providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
With Missouri locations as far west as Wentzville and as far south as Arnold, WUCA offers patients the opportunity to get primary care closer to home as part of a close-knit network that provides easy referrals to specialists at the University of Washington and the BJC HealthCare network of hospitals. .
Designed from the outset as a flexible and supportive partnership, the agreements offer community physicians the benefits of becoming WUCA employees while maintaining leadership and management oversight of the day-to-day operations of their practices.
“Washington University Clinical Associates is dedicated to providing primary care physicians with the business infrastructure and administrative support necessary to ensure the success of their community practices,” said Paul J. Scheel Jr., MD, Vice Chancellor of Clinical Affairs. and CEO of Washington. Academic doctors, school faculty practice and president of WUCA.
“There is a shortage of primary care doctors across the country, especially in underserved areas.” Scheel said. “These WUCA partnerships help primary care physicians stay in their local markets, invest in and grow their practices, and continue to provide vital frontline healthcare to patients living nearby.
Jeannette St. Aubin, assistant vice chancellor for clinical affairs and executive director of practice development at the School of Medicine, helped launch the first WUCA partnership in 2004 to keep leading primary care practices affiliated with the campus university.
The program has grown steadily over the years, primarily in pediatric primary care, in partnership with BJC HealthCare and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. WUCA recently added its first general obstetrics and gynecology practice and plans to continue expanding this service into the community in the near future.
WUCare, one of the WUCA Network Practices, is dedicated solely to providing high-quality primary care to University of Washington employees and their families (ages 18 and older) who are enrolled in the sponsored health plan by the university (United Healthcare).
“Many employees may find it difficult to find a primary care physician at the University of Washington, but WUCare makes it easy for university employees and their families to get an appointment,” said St.Aubin.
“WUCA physicians have access to our specialists, making it easier for them to coordinate care or make referrals when needed,” St. Aubin said. “These connections also open up opportunities for our medical students and residents to gain pediatric and primary care experience with local community practices.
Adam Eaton, MD, pediatrician at Blue Fish Pediatrics in Des Peres, Mo., said the primary benefit of WUCA membership “is that we are empowered to manage our practices and serve our communities in a way that works for each individual practice.WUCA has not attempted to create its own large top-down system, but rather has formed a professional association with integrated talent practices throughout the region.
“We spend our days providing health care and child care, but also helping those children access other medical services when needed,” said Eaton, a St. Louis native who graduated from Washington University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
An assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, Eaton said affiliation with WUCA has made it easier for Blue Fish patients to access services offered by St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“A child can have an illness that requires the full spectrum of care, from an outpatient clinic to the intensive care unit,” he said. “Having this affiliation with the University of Washington and St. Louis Children’s Hospital allows us, as primary care physicians for children, to provide these patients with access to the best care our region has to offer. “
Jonathan N. Byrd, MD, a primary care internist at Grant Medical Clinic in the Midtown West, said WUCA was the starting point of his journey as an internal medicine physician.
“As a resident, I was able to train at the Grant Medical Clinic,” Byrd said. “I fell in love not only with the opportunity to serve a truly diverse group of patients reflecting the St. Louis area and beyond, but also with the group’s and WUCA’s commitment to quality care.”
Byrd, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said WUCA’s commitment to physician growth and flexibility allows his clinic to respond to each physician’s style of care and interests.
“I am able to engage extensively in primary care academic teaching through the residency program, which is important to me,” Byrd said. “WUCA allowed me to follow my passion for patient-centered care and evidence-based medicine in a community clinic setting. This is coupled with tremendous collaboration with leading medical specialists, many of whom are the same mentors I learned during my training at the University of Washington.
“The camaraderie that has permeated the University of Washington Medical School from my time as a medical student, through residency, and now in practice is alive and well, and I think WUCA allowed not only to benefit from this ongoing commitment, but also to pass it on to future practitioners.
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