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New Uncasville Medical Center serves Mohegan tribal members, employees and the public

Mohegan — Despite its name, it’s not quite at Mohegan Sun. But it’s pretty close.

The Mohegan Tribe and Yale New Haven Health on Monday celebrated the official opening of the 8,500-square-foot Uncasville Medical Center at Mohegan Sun, a neighborhood-style clinic providing primary and some specialty care to Mohegan tribal members and employees and the public.

Located on the Mohegan reservation in the former Arooga's restaurant building, it’s on Sandy Desert Road, off Route 32. Mohegan Sun can be seen in the distance rising above a nearby stand of trees.

The facility, its debut pushed back a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, observed a “soft opening” a week ago. More than 20 tribal and Yale New Haven Health officials took part in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Monday.

“The Mohegan Tribe has always prioritized the health and well-being of not just our own tribal members and employees, but also our neighbors and surrounding communities,” said James Gessner, the Mohegan tribal chairman. “Our ongoing partnership with Yale New Haven Health is a testament to our tribe’s belief in thinking beyond our own borders and caring about our neighbors.”

Jeff Hamilton, president and general manager of Mohegan Sun, said he hopes the tribe’s collaboration with Yale New Haven Health becomes a model that other large employers in the state will emulate. 

“The Uncasville Medical Center is another representation of our commitment to care and bringing it closer to home in the communities we serve in southeastern Connecticut,” said Patrick Green, president and chief executive officer of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, a Yale New Haven Health affiliate. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mohegan-Yale New Haven Health partnership organized a drive-thru testing station and a mass vaccination site at the casino. Some 35,700 vaccinations have been administered at the site while more than 19,500 people have been tested at the drive-thru, according to Dr. Prathibha Varkey, president and CEO of Yale New Haven Health’s Northeast Medical Group.

Rick Coppola, Yale New Haven Health's director of operations, led a tour of the new clinic, describing it as a “one-stop shop” for those it serves. Primary care physicians have offices there, while specialty care providers in such areas as endocrinology, OB-GYN, cardiovascular programs for women and pain management visit the site on a weekly basis.

The clinic has nine spacious examination rooms and one procedure room.

Coppola said eight to 10 clinicians work at the site on any given day. About 15 other staff are employed there, he said. 

Though not an emergency room, a walk-in area accessible by a separate entrance accommodates patients who arrive in need of immediate, non-life-threatening issues. The walk-in area is staying open to 6 p.m. daily, and eventually will scale up to weekend hours as well, Coppola said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

 

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