Education

Health clinic a possibility at Jasper High School

‘A TREMENDOUS ASSET’

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The offering of a health clinic could become a reality at Jasper High School.

Capstone Rural Health and the Jasper City Board of Education are currently in negotiations to determine how best to move forward with the possibility of providing health services to students and staff while they are at school.

David Jones, executive director of Capstone Rural Health, participated in a work session with the board of education to discuss the school-based health model that is being referred to as the
Capstone/Viking Clinic. The clinic would be operated by Capstone and located in two rooms of Jasper High where a nurse practitioner, LPN, counselor/social worker, receptionist and translator would be available to meet the needs of students.

“There are several things a schoolbased health center can bring to a school. The number one thing would be to add healthcare access to children that don’t always have good transportation or they lack access to a primary care provider,” Jones said. “We really want to offer services to high-risk students. We want to reach those kids who don’t have support systems in place in their families as other children do.”

The clinic would have the ability to offer primary care, acute/sick care, prevention services, immunization services, care coordination/case management, outreach and enrollment services, health education, and possibly vision and hearing screenings.

Employees at the clinic would also coordinate with primary care providers, should a child or staff member seeking services have one. Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson stressed that the Capstone clinic would not eliminate school nurses and counselors already in place.

“We don’t really see this as diminishing much of what our nurses do already. Our nurses are very busy, and there are needs where we think the clinic could pick up a lot of the needs the nurses are seeing that they don’t deal with but the clinic could,” Jackson said.

Jasper City Schools Lead Nurse Penne Mott added, “I see this program as really just augmenting what we’re already doing. ... It would be really beneficial, in my opinion, if you do have a child that comes in sick, instead of referring them out to a healthcare provider, there would be someone there to help.”

The clinic would serve those who are insured and uninsured. Jones clarified that there would be a sliding fee for those without insurance and that students would be treated, if necessary, regardless of the ability to pay.

Jackson said students from other Jasper City Schools could also utilize the Capstone clinic’s services but would need to be transported by their parents to Jasper High.

If the clinic were to become a reality, it could be operational as early as the fall of 2021. Parents would be provided with details about the clinic with the beginning of the year documents, and consent would be needed for a child to receive care at the clinic.

Negotiations continue between Capstone and Jasper City Schools. It will be announced at a later date if plans to open the clinic move forward.

“Now seems to be the time that maybe we should take a closer look at it,” Jackson said.

She added via email, “We think it would be a tremendous asset to our students, particularly those without a health care provider.”

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