The Kentucky Racing Health Services Center, a nonprofit clinic run by the University of Louisville School of Nursing, has been designated an innovative model by the American Academy of Nursing.
The Academy has named School of Nursing faculty members Whitney Nash, PhD, APRN, and Sara Robertson, DNP, APRN, Edge Runners for establishing and growing the clinic, which serves low-income thoroughbred racing industry workers and their families. The designation recognizes original evidence-based and nurse-designed care models that have shown significant clinical and financial outcomes.
Located a block from Churchill Downs, the clinic is a partnership between the School of Nursing and the Kentucky Racing Health & Welfare Fund that provides comprehensive health care to backside workers, including assistant trainers, grooms and hot walkers.
Most workers the clinic serves migrate from Latin America to work U.S. horse racing circuits. These low-paying jobs typically do not include health benefits. Before the clinic opened in 2005, many of its patients forwent health care or used the emergency room for primary care.
“It is a privilege to be recognized with such a prestigious designation,” said Nash, School of Nursing Associate Dean of Practice and Service and founding director of the clinic. “We are honored to serve one of the most vulnerable populations.”
Funded by uncashed parimutuel tickets at horse racing tracks throughout Kentucky, the clinic decreases health care barriers and has reduced medical costs by providing much of the workers’ health care in one place.
Workers can access the clinic for a $5 copay, which covers the patient visit and lab tests. Services include mental health treatment, physicals and women’s annual exams, care for acute illnesses, and maintenance treatment for chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension.
“The high level of comprehensive care and readily available appointments allow patients to understand and manage their unique health situation,” said Richard Riedel, director of the Kentucky Racing Health & Welfare Fund. “Because satisfaction levels are so high, patients often return for their care.”