The proposed school health clinic will be considered at the Warren County School Board meeting Thursday night.
At the county Education Committee meeting Thursday night, Director of Schools Dr. Grant Swallows discussed the potential plans for a school health clinic. He explained that last year the school system received a federal grant which would allow them to build a COVID testing center at the Central Office. When the project was bid out, it came back almost $1 million over budget. The school board determined that was too much over budget, but then reconverted the bid into a potential health clinic space instead which opened up funding opportunities through ESSER.
“I don’t even want to call it a school health clinic because it is really not limited to us,” said Swallows. “We know there are businesses and medical providers out there who are doing this in other counties. I can give you Robertson County as an example and they offer a health clinic just for employees and their families only. What you do is you partner with the vendor and the vendor provides the medical expertise and the medical employees and we provide the space. So basically as a county or school system, we pay for one lump sum and that would go to pay for all of these services provided. There is no insurance involved or red tape. Right now you go to a medical provider and what is the first thing you do when you walk in? They hand you 14 forms and you have to fill out insurance forms. This cuts out all that red tape,” Swallows said.
This service could also potentially allow teachers to be seen during their planning periods.
“Theoretically, what they want to do is be able to provide a cost-saving measure for the employee as well as an efficiency saver for the school system. Because if we have it on site and they are not worried about the fact they need to get 14 patients seen in an hour, this clinic can schedule it out where employees can come on their planning time,” Swallows said.
Swallows says this clinic would theoretically be a cost saver for employees who cannot afford insurance.
“One of the advantages for us as a school system is we have a number of classified employees that, because they are not paid really well, they can’t afford to take the insurance plans we offer. So this would give them the opportunity to be involved in that,” said Swallows.
This clinic would also be able to provide prescriptions.
“Theoretically, an employee could come and be seen by a nurse practitioner and a nurse and be diagnosed with the flu, given a prescription right there and be in and out in 30 minutes,” he said.
The county has also expressed interest in partnering with the school system for this clinic. If the county partnered, this service would also be offered to county employees and their families.
“The county will be interested in partnering with us in this, so it will be offered to county employees and their families as well. That would be easily doable. The county would just pay its portion of it. There is a fixed fee and until you get to a certain enrollment, it doesn’t go up,” said Swallows.
“This is a great idea. I hope it works,” said Commissioner Carlene Brown.
No plans have been solidified yet. The Warren County School Board will discuss the proposed clinic at the meeting Thursday night at 5 p.m. at Eastside Elementary School.