Media Tours Olympic Village at U

On Monday, the U held a media tour of the Olympic Village and the clinic before SLOC takes it over. The tour highlighted the Polyclinic, located in the Guest House.

To make sure athletes’ injuries and illnesses do not put a damper on the spirit of the Olympic Games next month, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, along with the U, has created a Polyclinic like no other.

The clinic is a 24-hour-a-day, full-service, multi-specialty health center for Olympic athletes, run by the U’s Health Sciences Center. At about 9,000 square feet, the facility is twice as large as the one used in 1998 in the Nagano, Japan Games.

According to Polyclinic Medical Services Director William Holt, “It is the best Winter Olympic Polyclinic ever.” While some furniture is still being placed, most everything is on the site, Holt said.

According to the clinic’s medical director, Dr. Mark Elstad, an estimated 2,000 visits (about 100 a day) are expected during the Games. Everything from injuries to simple colds will be treated.

The Polyclinic will have about 300 staff and volunteers for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. About 85 percent of the staff is affiliated with the U, Holt said.

Nearly all equipment was donated or loaned, Elstad said, by Olympic sponsors like Kodak, which donated a DR 9000, one of the latest ultra sound machines available, and the only one in the Intermountain region.

Because there was no cost to the U, health care is available in “excess of expectations,” Elstad said. For example, MRI equipment is not required, but, because of donations, it is provided.

Although University Hospital is only about 100 yards away from the village, providing the Polyclinic was required of SLOC, Elstad said. The purpose is to have a facility which is located inside the boundaries of the village.

According to Elstad, U President Bernie Machen did not want the hospital to become part of the village for security purposes and so the public will not lose access to the hospital.

“The Polyclinic is not an E.R. or trauma center,” Elstad said.

While the clinic can handle most situations, some athletes may need to visit the hospital. In that case, transportation is available to immediately move an athlete to the hospital, Elstad said.

As far as injuries caused by competition, Intermountain Health Care will have facilities for athletes, according to Holt and Elstad. The service is free to athletes, but there are some limitations.

About 3,500 athletes and officials living in the village, and about 3,500 family members will receive free care.

The village itself, however, will be restricted and most family members will not be staying there. According to SLOC official Curtis Andrews, family members visiting athletes will be required to use guest passes and check in through security.

According to U Police Chief Ben Lemmon, security will consist of electronic surveillance, check points and local and federal law enforcement officers. Athletes will have special credentials, he said.

Between 1,200 and 1,300 beds have been added in the village to accommodate athletes. Each room will have two beds, two desks and one bathroom. The only people to have single rooms will be the 80 “chefs”?those in charge of each nation’s athletes.

“Their rooms include TVs and phones,” Andrews said.

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