More Students Getting Free Health Care At School

Feb 8, 2016

School districts and charitable organizations are increasingly realizing offering students medical, dental, vision and behavioral health services all in one place, at school during school hours, is beneficial for those who need it.

Last month, Fairfield City Schools says it became the first suburban school district in the nation to offer comprehensive services. The school-based health center, in the same building as Fairfield Academy, is within walking distance of Fairfield's Intermediate, Freshman and Central Elementary schools but serves all 10 district schools. The center has three medical exam rooms, three dental chairs, and two vision stations with machines that test for both glaucoma and the accuracy of eyeglass prescriptions.

Interact for Health is funding the center. That organization also contributes to school-based clinics in Cincinnati along with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Mercy Health. Mercy has clinics in these Cincinnati Public Schools:

  • Mt. Washington School
  • Silverton Paideia
  • Pleasant Hill Academy

During the clinics' first year in operation students and staff (and some parents) visited the family nurse practitioner 350 times at Mt. Washington, 249 times at Silverton and 148 times at Pleasant Hill. In one case, the nurse helped a mother manage her son's asthma. In another, a sick mother was referred to a specialist for an enlarged thyroid.

Garfield Middle School's in-school clinic (Hamilton School District) will open in March. Primary Health Solutions is in charge, but Fort Hamilton Hospital will support emergency care and assist with inpatient services.

This month, The Christ Hospital began partnering with Newport Independent Schools to provide a school nurse. The nurse will provide everything from school and sport physicals to immunizations to sick visits. All services are provided free of charge to students.

Cincinnati Children’s took over the school-based health center at South Avondale School in 2013. Children's says since then, "it has expanded the health care services available to the school’s students, as well as to children across Avondale."

Colleen O'Toole, PhD, Chief Administrative Officer for The Health Collaborative, is confident these partnerships will continue to aid the community. She says, "The hospitals in our region are very supportive in their communities where care can be provided in a more comprehensive way to people who need it."