CLEMSON — Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have teamed up with the goal of creating a national model for student health care and well-being initiatives, focused not only on the immediate needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic but also the ongoing health demands of the Clemson student population.

COVID-19 TESTING  

As Clemson continues to prepare for the Fall semester, the University previously announced anyone who works for, lives at or is enrolled in a Clemson University program or facility must secure a negative COVID-19 test result within five days prior to returning to campus or other University location for the Fall semester.

Clemson and MUSC have established a mobile testing site near campus and next week will launch a limited testing process for employees currently working on campus.

For students, faculty and staff returning to campus in August, exact details related to technological, medical and financial processes are still being finalized. Those details, including free testing locations and transmission of records from tests administered outside of South Carolina, will be announced in the coming days.

STUDENT HEALTH CARE SERVICES EXPANSION

The Clemson and MUSC collaboration on student health will focus on four key concepts:

  • Health and well-being
  • Innovation and connection
  • Quality and value
  • Patient experience and convenience

Examples of partnership benefits for students over the phased, multi-year collaboration include 24/7 access to virtual urgent care, expansion of telehealth, telepsychiatry and telecounseling services, integrated electronic health records, improved availability and reduced wait times for clinical care.

Student Health Services at Clemson is an integrated, outpatient organization comprised of three divisions: Medical Services, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Healthy Campus. Clemson’s Redfern Health Center is one of 17 student health centers in the United States accredited by The Joint Commission and is also accredited by the American Psychological Association for its doctoral internship program and the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation for laboratory services.

“This is a great development for our students because health care will be more accessible and convenient,” said Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Chris Miller. “This is especially important during the ongoing COVID situation and with the upcoming flu season. The level of care in Redfern Health Center is already exceptional and this collaboration will only continue to improve that level with better access to specialists in a variety of fields that will benefit our students.”

“MUSC and Clemson enjoy a long history of academic and community collaborations,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., CEO of MUSC Health and Vice President for Health Affairs, University. “This student health collaboration allows us to expand our relationship and jointly contribute to the high-quality and convenient care that students appreciate. The 24/7 virtual urgent care will be a tremendous asset as Clemson students come back to campus in the Fall and as we continue our fight against COVID-19.”

MUSC is in the process of hiring an on-site operations manager to work alongside Dr. George Clay, Redfern’s executive director. Clay has been Redfern’s executive director since February 2000 and has seen the University’s enrollment grow exponentially during that time.

“One of the things I am really proud of is that we have a team at Redfern that is always looking for ways to improve,” Clay said. “That is an important aspect of our culture and we will approach the partnership in that spirit.”

The most recent full academic year data showed nearly 50,000 total provider visits by Clemson students, including 13,464 unique patients. In addition, Redfern’s pharmacy filled nearly 33,000 prescriptions and its lab conducted roughly 22,000 tests. Over the last five years, CAPS has seen an increase of 35 percent in patients participating in initial counseling sessions.

One of the first initiatives planned is virtual urgent care, which will be available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The scope of care provided through the service will be limited, but Clay cited the ability to be open “around the clock” as a need identified by both students and parents.

“We have seen demonstrations on how MUSC manages the visits and it’s going to be a great addition,” he said. “It will meet immediate needs and may free up our providers during regular hours of operation to better keep up with growing demand.”

Once its operations manager is on board, MUSC will conduct a thorough assessment of Redfern’s current services, offer recommendations for improvement and implement any agreed upon initiatives.

“We pride ourselves on providing an integrated system of care,” Clay said. “We know it’s not going to be business as usual this fall in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Redfern team will strive to build the partnership with MUSC while identifying opportunities and implementing improvements that will benefit the health and well-being of Clemson University students.”