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Sunday, 11 October 2015 17:17

Calvin, GVSU, WMU partner in new rehab clinic

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Calvin College partnered with Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University to launch a new rehabilitation clinic in Grand Rapids. Clinic Director Steve Vanderkamp believes the model could expand to multiple locations in the future. Calvin College partnered with Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University to launch a new rehabilitation clinic in Grand Rapids. Clinic Director Steve Vanderkamp believes the model could expand to multiple locations in the future. COURTESY PHOTO

A new rehabilitation clinic near Calvin College’s campus is the first of what Steve Vanderkamp believes could become multiple locations in the future in the Grand Rapids area.

The clinic is staffed by fourth-year Calvin, Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University students earning their undergraduate degrees in various therapy disciplines who work alongside their clinical instructors. The clinic offers them an added venue to learn and complete an externship in a clinical setting that’s required to graduate.

If all goes well, Vanderkamp anticipates opening additional clinics and expanding the therapy services offered.

“In the future … once we hit capacity, I’d like to see us branch out into the community and take the services out there,” said Vanderkamp, the clinic director of Calvin College Rehabilitation Services and a staff physical therapist. “There are some areas of town that I don’t think are well served.”

Calvin College opened the clinic last month at East Beltline Avenue and Lake Drive as an offshoot of an on-campus speech therapy clinic it’s operated for years.

The new clinic offers speech pathology, social work, audiology, and physical and occupational therapy. Students and instructors also can evaluate and treat children and adults for a variety of issues, from Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis to autism and brain injuries.

The clinic fulfills two missions for Calvin College: “To be out there in the world serving and supporting” and to “provide an exceptional learning experience” for students.

A key element of the clinic is the interdisciplinary approach that provides students lessons in collaborating with peers.

“We want our therapy students who are receiving their training around here to really know and experience the whole outpatient rehab setting so when they go out and they get those jobs in our community, and if I’m a speech therapist, I know how to reach out to an occupational therapist because I know what they do and I know how they can help my client,” Vanderkamp said. “Having our students work together in a clinic will be so important to them and be a benefit to employers in this area, too, because then they have students that are more well-rounded.”

The clinic opened as colleges experience greater difficulty placing therapy students in externships because of capacity limits, said Barbara Baker, associate professor of physical therapy at GVSU.

Partnering with Calvin College and WMU on the clinic gives GVSU added capacity to place physical therapy students in a clinical setting. The clinic provides GVSU students the added ability to work with neurological clients.

“This is meeting an enormous need in educating students because neurological placements for students are limited,” Baker said. “We saw this as a really unique venture.”

Clients for the clinic come mostly from the overflow patient load at Calvin’s on-campus clinic and people “who we feel may need more intense therapy or they may need more of that collaborative therapy that we can provide here because we have all of the components here,” Vanderkamp said.

A physical therapist who previously worked at Holland Home and as an inpatient and outpatient manager at Spectrum Health, Vanderkamp is now working to secure referrals from physician practices and health care providers in the area whose patients need one of the forms of therapy the clinic provides.

“They can go anywhere for that outpatient therapy and we can be one of those providers,” Vanderkamp said.

For now, the clinic charges a fee of $30 per session and is working to sign reimbursement agreements with major health insurers in the market, as well as with Medicare and Medicaid, he said.

Talks also are already underway about adding services, Vanderkamp said. Calvin, WMU and GVSU could add to the clinic with students from their nursing schools, he said. Vanderkamp also would like to bring a neuropsychology specialty to the clinic.

The 4,500-square-foot clinic includes a group therapy room, clinical rooms, two soundproof audiology booths and a physical therapy gym.

Read 2092 times Last modified on Monday, 12 October 2015 12:37

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