CH-UH Students receive health care at school
There are many barriers that may prevent CH-UH students from receiving appropriate health care. Some students lack health insurance, others may have transportation issues, or their parents may have jobs without paid time off to care for family members. This can result in students not receiving the care they need, or missing school time because of illness.
To the rescue: Cleveland Clinic’s Mobile Health Unit. These vans—literally, a doctor’s office on wheels—travel to schools in six districts in and around Cleveland, including CH-UH. The vans have visited both Boulevard and Oxford elementary schools once each week for the past two years, and will add Gearity and Noble elementary schools this spring.
Pamela Taylor, school-based health center project manager for the Clinic, believes that convenience is the most important aspect of this program. “We meet children where they are. Their parents don’t have to miss any work and students miss only a minimal amount of school,” usually only about 15 minutes or so.
Health professionals perform well-child visits, vision checks, fill prescriptions, and keep vaccinations current, among other services. They also screen for a variety of conditions, including mental health issues, and make necessary referrals.
The mobile unit will send medical updates to a child’s regular pediatrician or specialist. “We are not trying to take anyone away from their current providers; we just want to fill the gaps in care,” said Taylor.
Karen Allen, a social worker at Boulevard, is a big fan of the program. She described one family with three children at Boulevard, one at Heights Middle School, and another at Heights High, all of whom received care at Boulevard’s mobile van. “The mother was thrilled. She has no car and yet her kids were able to get their vaccinations, their prescriptions filled, and complete their well visits.”
Heights High students can participate in a similar program in which students can use the school nurse’s office for a virtual visit with a Cleveland Clinic pediatric provider. Using advanced virtual technology, providers can assess, diagnose, educate, prescribe and refer as needed, all while the student remains at school.
Students enrolled in any CH-UH school can receive care in the vans, although parents are responsible for bringing the child from his or her assigned school to wherever the mobile unit is located.
Taylor encourages families to call the mobile unit at 216-442-7442 to leave a message. A health team member will contact the parent directly. Taylor summed up the program this way; “We want to remove as many barriers to health care as possible.”
Krissy Dietrich Gallagher
Krissy Dietrich Gallagher is a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights, a graduate of Heights schools, and a freelance journalist under contract with the CH-UH City School District.