The Clinic at Mercury Courts Gets HRSA Grant

The Clinic at Mercury Courts staff recently welcomed Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell, right, for a tour of the new facility. Aaron Scott greets Harwell and VUSN’s Bonnie Pilon, DSN, RN. Lipscomb University’s Chad Gentry, Pharm.D., background, helped coordinate the visit and guide the tour. Photo by Joe Howell

More than 1,200 underserved and disadvantaged people in Nashville will gain access to high-quality primary care thanks to a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Division of Nursing grant recently awarded to The Clinic at Mercury Courts.  The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing primary care clinic, operating in conjunction with Urban Housing Solutions, was opened in 2012 to serve people and families transitioning from homelessness and other poverty situations.

“This is a tremendous boost.  It gives us much-needed support to effectively provide health care to members of the community who are often the hardest to reach and those who need high-quality health care the most,” said Bonnie Pilon, DSN, RN, senior associate dean for Clinical and Community Partnerships at VUSN.

This grant will provide resources to target two specific groups:  1) People living in transitional and low-income housing in urban Nashville, most of whom are uninsured, and 2) homebound and group housing residents, a majority who are elderly, frail and low income, who will receive medical house calls from advanced practice nurses teamed with a pharmacist and counselor.

In addition to providing health care, the HRSA grant is the first of its kind in Middle Tennessee that brings together interprofessional, licensed providers working with a nurse-led primary care site.  The health professionals team includes a family nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, a physician and a master’s-prepared professional counselor/health advocate.  The group will provide preventive and chronic disease management.

“We have piloted programs where students from different health care areas learn side by side, and this is a great clinic site to continue that model of learning. This grant takes things one step further by bringing together licensed providers working as a team,” said Pilon.  “This will allow us to create, implement and test this approach like never before.  We hope what we learn will be scalable in other communities across the country.”

The Clinic at Mercury Courts, located on Murfreesboro Pike in the former motor lodge of the same name, is a nurse practitioner-run primary care clinic in partnership with Urban Housing Solutions, a nonprofit committed to affordable housing for low income individuals and families.  The grant will serve residents in nine apartment complexes in a 2.5-mile radius of the clinic.