Vivent Health to expand Milwaukee Health Clinic to meet patient needs

Vivent Health is opening a new, expanded HIV health clinic at 1311 N. Sixth St. near the Deer District. (Photo/Vivent Santé)

By Karen Stokes

Vivent Health, formerly the Wisconsin AIDS Resource Center, recently announced the location of its new Milwaukee clinic at 1311 N. Sixth Street near the Deer District.

The new location is at the northwest corner of Sixth Street and McKinley Avenue in the West Town neighborhood of downtown. Vivent Health’s current Milwaukee Clinic is located at 820 N. Plankinton Avenue. Its corporate and administrative offices are located at 648 N Plankinton Avenue.

The new location will provide Vivent Health with 46,277 square feet of space, a 33% increase from its current location. Vivent Health treated nearly 5,000 patients in 2021; the additional space will allow Vivent Health to treat an additional 1,000 patients. Renovations to the one-story building, which was previously occupied by Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), are scheduled to begin Aug. 15 with a tentative move-in date of April 1, 2023.

Quorum is the architect and TriNorth is the general contractor for the new facility. The total cost of the project is estimated at approximately $9 million.

“We entered this space to ensure they received the medical care necessary for patients to live long, healthy lives,” said President and CEO Mike Gifford.

The location was chosen specifically because it is in the heart of the area with the highest prevalence of people living with HIV or at risk of contracting HIV in the entire state. The increased space in the new facility will allow Vivent Health to serve people in the most medically underserved areas of Milwaukee, namely ZIP Codes 53204, 53214, 53215, 53216 and 53218.

In addition to medical care and HIV prevention, Vivent Health also provides a host of services to its patients, including HIV case management services, behavioral health care, dental care, pharmacy services, on-call food and legal and housing services.

What makes Vivent Health unique is its nationally recognized HIV medical home model, which not only provides patients with the health care they need, but also the comprehensive social services needed to meet the social determinants such as access to healthy food, assistance with housing issues and help with legal issues.

During Mike Gifford’s tenure, he led Vivent Health’s transformation from a social service agency into the nation’s premier HIV healthcare provider.

“The transition from a social service organization to a healthcare organization began over two decades ago. It all started for one simple reason, the people we serve needed it,” Gifford said.

“The worst number of new HIV infections in the state of Wisconsin dates back to the early 1990s, with approximately 1,000 cases recorded each year. Thanks to the aggressive prevention work of Vivent and other organizations in the community, we have been able to reduce this number to around 250 new infections per year,” Gifford said.

There are tools needed to prevent people from getting HIV, such as education, condoms, clean needle exchange and access to drug treatment.

The number of people living with HIV whose disease progressed to AIDS has been reduced.

Gifford explained that the reduction is due to the successes of medical treatments, medications and all the support provided by our medical house. It’s more than just a pill that people take. Medicine is important, but supporting them and making sure they have access to insurance and making sure homelessness or hunger doesn’t become a barrier to their health care success. The integrated care model we have helps create some of the best outcomes in the country.

Vivent Health has undergone a number of mergers in recent years, making it the second largest provider of HIV/AIDS services in the country today. Currently, Vivent Health has clinics in Austin, Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City, and throughout Wisconsin.

“Our patients are the healthiest HIV patients in the country. It is measured by an undetectable viral load. Having an undetectable viral load means you cannot pass HIV on to someone else. It’s great for the patient and great for the community,” Gifford said. “At Vivent Health, 96% have an undetectable viral load, nationally the number is around 60%.

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