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School clinic

Dear Editor:

School health clinic, just some thoughts. Seems like a good idea, but then, on second thought … in a small town like ours, the health center is not far from the schools and today, families can most certainly have health insurance for their children either through the CHIPS program, Medicaid, Colorado Health Exchanges or the such. Because of this, our health center is already set up to service these through their business office. It is a problem for the schools and working parents when a child gets sick at school — many have jobs that do not allow them to “take off” for a sick child without losing pay, which for many, is already inadequate.

So, what to do? I would like to suggest that the health center set up an area next to, but not part of, the emergency room as a “school sick bay” where cots could be set up for children determined by the school nurse to be too sick to stay in school. Insurance could be billed for this care. That would help all ends of the problem: the child, the school and the working parents. And, of course, when school is out (summer, holidays, etc.) the need would not be there.

Now, if that is possible, who would monitor the children? Well, this goes back a little in time when I served the ambulance from 1988-2000. Back then, we were, for the most part, committed volunteers. Many times, I remained in the urgent care center to monitor a patient for an hour or two to “free up” medical personnel until the “doc” decided to either transport or send home. Those EMTs back then were very much appreciated for their volunteer service to the community. Perhaps our current EMTs could sign up to volunteer for this, perhaps one day during a month? They could assess the patient, report findings to a physician or PA, who would then take charge of any medical recommendations — the EMT would continue to monitor until a parent arrived. It would be a great service to the community.

Now, as to what would be offered with this service. I believe it would be only to provide care for the current problem until a parent can pick them up. I personally believe that all other aspects of health care should be handled through regular doctor’s appointments, including pregnancy issues which should be managed between those teenagers, their parents and their physician — that is not the school’s responsibility. I believe this could be done.

Patty Tillerson

This story was posted on August 7, 2014.