Springfield schools bring health care to their campuses
Saves parents a separate trip to the doctor's office
SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — Springfield Medical Care Systems has joined forces with the town’s schools to place more medical care providers on their campuses.
“We’ve kicked this idea around for several years,” said Adam Ameele, the director of behavioral health. “Children are not getting the care they need.”
The hospital is able to do this because it is a federally qualified health center. That means they receive government funds meant to improve care in underserved areas. Fees are assessed on a sliding scale. There is also financial assistance offered, should it be necessary.
The services provided include: preventive care; ADHD screening and follow-up care; adolescent health; asthma screening and care; acute sickness care; sports physicals; and monitoring medication.
Ameele said the idea is to promote wellness, cut down on emergency room visits, and catch children with chronic problems.
“Our long-term goal is to get a licensed clinical social worker [LCSW] into every school,” Ameele said. They’ll do short-term interventions, consulting with teachers, administrators and the students. We want to identify barriers that get in the way of children getting proper care.”
As things stand now, there are two LCSWs available Monday through Friday during regular school hours.
The program also includes a dental hygienist, he added.
Lori Twombly is the director of primary-care practice operations.
“We’re looking to focus on children with chronic conditions,” she said. “We can see the child during the school day, so they don’t miss classes.That’s less of an inconvenience for the parents, who don’t have to pull their children out of school to see the doctor.”
According to a statement from the hospital, this service is not meant to take over from the family physician.
“If your child has a doctor outside of school, the health center will work with that doctor to offer care as needed,” reads the statement.
Currently, the plan is to provide pediatric care at Springfield High School and Elm Hill School on the second Thursday of each month. Riverside Middle School and Union Street School will receive pediatric cafe on the fourth Thursday of each month.