North Carolina Student Community Health Alliance (NCSCHA)
- Weldon School Based Health Center Doing Well, Could Expand
- (Article reprinted from the Daily Hearld online newspaper: www.rrdailyhearld.com)
It’s 7:30 a.m. on a school day, and a Weldon Elementary School student is having trouble with his asthma.
Instead of his parent heading across town and missing work for a doctor’s appointment, the student can simply walk down the hallway at his school to receive medical care.
It is one of many scenarios seen by Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Don Buchanan at the Weldon School Based Health Center located inside Weldon Elementary School at 805 Washington Ave.
It is where Weldon City Schools students, along with area youth from birth to 21, can receive treatment.
“We can bring quality health to the school where children are and help make sure they are seen every day,” Buchanan said.
Opened in January of 2012, services provided include well child exams, growth and development counseling, vaccines, sick and minor injury visits, management of chronic illnesses, dental exams and treatments, behavioral health management, emotional support and counseling, nutrition counseling/education, vision and hearing screenings, sports physicals, work permits and referrals for specialized services.
Weldon City Schools officials are trying to let people know the center isn’t there just for students in the district.
“It’s just like a doctor’s office, except we are in a school,” Buchanan said. “We can make sure they are growing properly and teach them good healthy eating habits.”
The center stresses emphasis on preventive health care with a focus on obesity, asthma and diabetes.
“We are not just here for the students at the elementary school,” he said.
Private insurance, Medicaid along with sliding scale are ways to pay for services.
Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summer hours will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. once school ends.
Buchanan, who has worked in the center since February, said the primary mission is to serve pediatric patients, but adult patients can be seen.
For instance, if an adult comes into the center, they will be seen but will be referred to other Rural Health locations.
The health center is the result of a three-year, $330,000 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust partnering with the Rural Health Group.
Rural Health provides staffing and other resources.
The idea for a health center comes from when Superintendent Dr. Elie Bracy was a middle school principal in another county that had school based health centers.
“I had the opportunity to see how valuable it was,” Bracy said.
When the grant opportunity became available, Bracy worked to bring the center to the district.
According to a study done by the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, the benefits of school health centers are a significant increase in attendance for the average and the chronically absent student, decrease in tardiness, decrease in school discipline referral rates and subsequent suspensions and a significant increase in persistence rates.
Bracy sees these benefits firsthand. In the past, if a student was sick, the child would stay home and miss school.
But now, he said, if they are not feeling well, students can still come to school and get the necessary medical care.
“(The staff) made the greatest impact by sharing with students how to eat healthy,” Bracy said.
“It will help to eliminate some of the obesity in Weldon City Schools, Halifax County and the state.”
The ultimate goal is to serve all of the students in the district by expanding to the high school.
Logistics for a new site are being worked on by district and Rural Health Center officials. Bracy hopes to open it at the beginning of next school year.
“Hopefully, everything is in place by the first day of school,” he said.
Rural Health Group CEO Brian Harris felt a partnership with the Weldon City Schools was a natural fit. By providing a pediatric nurse practitioner, a nutritionist and behaviorists on site, students have access to varied care options.
“It is so much more convenient for parents,” Harris said. “Some children were unable to get to the clinic (outside of school).”
For more information about the health center or to make an appointment, call 252-536-0116 or 252-536-5000.
- FirstHealth and Montgomery County Schools Introduce Their New School Health Centers
- FirstHealth and Montgomery County Schools introduced their new School Health Centers to the public with Dec. 18 open house and ribbon-cutting ceremonies at East and West Montgomery Middle Schools. The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce also helped host the events.
The new construction, built with assistance from a $499,988 grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), allowed the programs to incorporate new telehealth and videoconferencing technology into their operations.
“Without the School Health Centers, many of the children in Montgomery County would have no alternative for health care other than costly emergency room care,” says family nurse practitioner Gina Smith, FNP-C. “Fortunately, the centers provide both acute and preventive care regardless of the ability to pay.”
The services of the FirstHealth Montgomery County School Health Centers are available to all children enrolled in Montgomery County public schools. Seventy-eight percent of the children served through the School Health Centers program are either uninsured or covered by Medicaid or N.C. Health Choice.
“Many rely on the School Health Centers as their sole source of care,” Smith says. “Now, with our larger, state-of-the art centers, we can do this more efficiently and increase access to much-needed health care for our students and staff.”
The School Health Centers are located at East Middle School in Biscoe and at West Middle School in Mt. Gilead.
“It was only fitting to have these events during the holiday season,” says Rae Williams, MSN, administrative director of FirstHealth Medical Practice Management. “The facilities are a special gift to Montgomery County Schools and the children they serve.”
- Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellowship Call for Proposals
- The Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellowship will be accepting applications for the next Fellowship class until June 14, 2013.
The Fellowship targets up-and-coming health professionals in a wide variety of disciplines in the early stages of their careers. The Fellowship is awarded for two years and is comprised of an educational component and a specific, individualized project. The educational component focuses on leadership skill development, team building, rural health and economic development, best practices and interfacing with other Fellowship programs. See attachments for further information.
Details of the Fellowship and how to apply are on the website, www.ncfahp.org, and click Fellowship. Questions should be directed to Judy Howell at Judy.Howell@ncfahp.org, 919-821-0485 or to John Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-243-1218.
- Education, Health Care Sectors Unite For School-Based Health Centers
- Nearly 75 state and district school superintendents, principals, and other school officials from across the nation today joined the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (NASBHC) in calling on Congress to support school-based health centers (SBHCs).
The letter, sent to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), chairmen of the Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies in their respective chambers, calls for the inclusion of $50 million in operations funding in the fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget. The funding, authorized through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has yet to be allocated and was not included in President Obama’s FY14 budget, also released today.
Nearly 2,000 SBHCs serve approximately 2 million children by providing primary health care, mental health care and counseling, family outreach, and chronic illness management.
“SBHCs serve as a vital access point for primary and mental health care for students who otherwise would go without,” wrote the group of education and health care experts. “Studies demonstrate that adolescents are far more likely to come to SBHCs for mental health services than to other community providers.”
This fact was underscored by research released in February by the Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), which confirmed that adolescents prefer to use health care services in youth-friendly environments including in school-based clinics.
Children and youth across the nation face daunting health challenges: 20 percent will experience depression in their teen years; they will lose a collective 51 million school hours because of dental-related illness; and their risk for obesity has skyrocketed three-fold in the past 30 years. Operations funds could mean new mental health professionals, doctors, nurse practitioners, and oral health providers to address these alarming outcomes.
“Research confirms what we have seen with our own eyes; health disparities affect educational achievement,” the letter stated. “As Congress looks to strengthen our education and health care sectors, your committees can make a difference by supporting appropriations for the operations of school-based health centers.”
- In Their Own Words: Adolescent’s Perspectives And Experiences Related to Their Health Care
- This background paper from the Office of Adolescent Health summarizes key findings from previous research on adolescent’s perspectives and experiences related to their health care. Among the many compelling insights throughout the paper is a section that details how adolescents feel their schools can support their health: refer teens to health services, provide more nutritious lunches, and offer students access to health care services through school-based health centers (SBHCs). To read the entire paper, visit www.nasbhc.org.
- Keep Childhood Smoke Free
- Beginning April, 2012, the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, NC Division of Public Health is launching a campaign about the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure to small children. The campaign, called “Keep Childhood Smoke-free” was originally developed by the Health and Wellness Trust Fund and has been expanded for release this spring. The radio, billboard, convenience store and online campaign is tagged with QuitlineNC information.
The tone makes the message meaningful for all parents, whether they are smokers or non-smokers, to be more aware of their children’s exposures to secondhand smoke. The message is direct about the need for children to not be exposed to tobacco smoke, with information on how to access QuitlineNC.
If you have questions about this campaign and how you may be able to use it, contact Ann Staples at email@example.com; 704-543-2347
- MORE THAN $80 MILLION AWARDED TO SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTERS NATIONWIDE Funds Expand Health Care Access and Services for Thousands of Children and Youth.
- (Washington, DC) – More than $80 million in federal funding went to 197 school-based health care programs across the nation this week. Made available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and announced by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the funds are the third and final round of grants designed to improve access to primary, mental, and oral health care for school-aged children. In 2011, HRSA awarded the first round of grants in an initial installment of $95 million, with a $14 million installment released later that year. The funding secured through the ACA was the first time federal funds were directed solely to SBHCs. Grants were available for construction, renovation, and equipment needs.
Today’s announcement saw three new states – Idaho, Nevada, and Utah – added to the list of grant recipients. Since 2011, 520 school-based health care programs received a total of $189,935,418, with 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico receiving funding. The states that ranked in the top five of overall funding total awards were: California, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, and New York. The only states not to benefit from the grants made available through the ACA were Vermont, New Hampshire, and North Dakota.
Data show that school-based health centers help decrease absenteeism, reduce unnecessary and costly emergency room visits, and ensure quality and cost-effective care for children and adolescents. Currently there are more than 1,800 centers nationwide serving more than 1.8 million children.
“School-based health centers are leading the way in redefining health for kids and teens and I congratulate all the recipients,” said Linda Juszczak, president of the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (NASBHC). “They excel at ensuring students get the physical, mental, and other health care services they need. This is critically-needed funding that will benefit schools and communities as well as students and their families.”
In the press release sent out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said: “These new investments will help school-based health centers establish new sites or upgrade their current facilities to keep our children healthy.”
While funding has been awarded for construction grants, there remains $50 million in operations funding that has yet to be allocated. These funds, which would go to help staff SBHCs with nursing practitioners, mental health providers, administrators and more, has not yet been made available by Congress. NASBHC is working to secure these funds.
“The impact of the constructions grants is clear,” said Juszczak. “Now is not the time to retreat on our community. Much of the ACA focuses on coverage and access to insurance. Investing in SBHCs means that, for thousands of children, access equal care. We urge federal lawmakers to appropriate the remaining funds that will create jobs, improve health and educational outcomes for students, and build stronger communities.”
- February is National Children’s Dental Health Month
- Oral health is vital to the health and happiness of young people. This month, the American Dental Association (ADA) holds National Children’s Dental Health Month to demonstrate about the importance of oral health care. More than 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental-related illness. SBHCs can provide dental screenings, assessments, varnishings, and referrals as part of well-child exams at minimal or no cost to students and their families.
We all know how important this work is. If your SBHC is providing oral health services we want to share your story! Post pictures and stories about your success on the NCSCHA Facebook page in celebration of both National Children’s Dental Health and National School-Based Health Care Awareness Months.
- Cartoon Explains Health Care Law
- The Kaiser Family Foundation released a short cartoon that explains the new health care law in easy to understand language--and pictures. If you're confused about the new law, this cartoon is for you.
- Jane Foy Recognized by Pediatricians
- Jane Meschan Foy, MD, FAAP, of the Wake Forest University Health Sciences Department of Pediatrics and the School Health Alliance for Forsyth County have received the "Promising Practices Award for Promoting Adolescents' Strengths"sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics' Adolescent Health Partnership Project. The award will be presented at the North Carolina School Community Health Alliance Annual Conference on December 6, 2011 during luncheon at the Brownstone Hotel & Conference Center in Raleigh.
The award honors exemplary achievemnt on behalf of adolescents at a local level. Recipients are recognized for the innovative contributions to adolescent health in their community or state and for promoting a positive perception of youth.
Dr. Foy has been the lead pediatrician for the School Health Alliance for Forsyth County program development and evaluation. It is based on summarizing health and mental health service utilization of students enrolled for services (e.g. immunizations, check-ups, individual therapy, medication management, nutrition groups). There is an emphasis on working with students to describe physical, behavioral, and emotional problems and overall psychosocial function among students in the school-based setting and promoting positive, strength-based assessments. The project also monitors parent, youth, and teacher/school administrator satisfaction with the meantl health consultation services.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety, and well being of infants, children, adolesents, and young adults.