Quality healthcare is readily available in the Four States. However, the area is also full of hardworking people who often go above and beyond a 40-hour work week. For convenience and accessibility, Freeman Health System has partnered with local schools to provide school-based health clinics, which improve the health and well-being of students and local school districts. School-based health clinics not only allow for immediate treatment, but they also save time away from work for parents and guardians. The overall goal of the program is to provide an optimal setting to foster learning readiness and academic achievement while helping meet the healthcare needs of children.
Freeman has partnered with four southwestern Missouri school districts to form school-based health clinics. At the beginning of the school year, parents receive information regarding the program, which includes an informational packet outlining the services provided and how the program works. Freeman also collaborated with schools to develop a student health inventory form and consent for treatment form to save parents/guardians time by reducing the number of forms to complete.
When a child becomes sick at school, he or she visits the school nurse. If the school nurse determines the student’s needs are beyond the resources available at the school, the school nurse contacts the local, collaborating healthcare clinic via telehealth with pre-arranged parental consent. Telehealth is the use of digital technologies to assist in the delivery of medical care by connecting multiple users in separate locations. If the student requires additional treatment from a nurse practitioner and/or physician, priority access to the clinic is available. Some of the school districts provide transportation for the student to the clinic if the parent/guardian is unable to leave work or no transportation is available. Prompt treatment and transportation allow students to return to the classroom as quickly as possible – reducing missed days. Faculty and staff are also eligible for services provided by the school-based health clinic.
Some of the services Freeman offers include:
- Telehealth conferencing between the school nurse and nurse practitioner and/or physician to determine if child needs to be seen by a medical provider or if they can return to class
- Physical exam by a nurse practitioner and/or physician with diagnosis and treatment of illness and minor injuries
- Health and nutrition education, counseling and wellness promotion
- Management of chronic conditions
- Prescription for medication when necessary for treatment of acute illness or condition
- Behavioral health services may also be available when needed
Costs of a school-based health clinic vary based on the agreement between the school district and the collaborating health system. Most programs are designed to ensure that no child is denied service based solely on inability to pay.
In addition to providing easy and prompt access to healthcare, school-based health clinics and partnerships impact students to reduce absenteeism, reduce emergency room and urgent care visits, and increase health knowledge among students. This partnership allows children to succeed in their education and become healthier adults.
Freeman has collaborated with area schools to establish four school-based health clinics to date. With the success of these programs, Freeman hopes to continue growing area partnerships. Current partnerships include:
- Carl Junction R-1 School District and Freeman Carl Junction Family Medicine
- McDonald County R-1 School District and Freeman Clinic of Anderson
- Neosho R-5 School District and Freeman Neosho Physician Group
- Seneca R-7 School District and Freeman Seneca Family Medicine
Learn more about our school-based health clinics.
About the Author
Renee Denton is Freeman Neosho Hospital Chief Operating Officer at Freeman Neosho Hospital – serving in this position since 2012. She joined Freeman in 2010. Renee represented Freeman Health System and played an integral role in collaborating with local school districts to establish area school-based health clinics to provide convenient, quality healthcare to students, faculty, staff and their families.