CMSD NEWS BUREAU
MetroHealth System will provide health services to students at 11 more CMSD schools, starting in the fall.
The expansion builds on a clinic that MetroHealth opened last year inside Mound STEM PreK-8 School in the Slavic Village neighborhood and a mobile unit
that began serving Lincoln-West High School in March.
The RV-sized mobile unit will expand its rounds to include three more high schools -- John Adams, Max S. Hayes and Garrett Morgan School of Science -- as well as Luis Munoz Marin, Harvey Rice, Anton Grdina, Miles Park and Walton elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy, a K-12 school for arrivals from other countries and Puerto Rico. Students from Willow and Fullerton elementary schools will be transported to the clinic at Mound.
MetroHealth's clinic and mobile unit will be open to students a half-day per week. A physician or nurse practitioner and medical assistant will offer services such as urgent care, immunizations, sports physicals and basic lab tests; a mental health professional will provide referrals for those services.
The medical services are designed to help reduce chronic absenteeism that interferes with education. MetroHealth staff will supplement District nurses who are stretched thin rotating among 90 buildings.
"The expansion of the MetroHealth clinics into more of our schools means that more of our students will receive advanced health services while in school," said Deborah Aloshen, CMSD director of health and nursing services. "This means not losing school time for students and work time for parents who may not have any sick or leave time on their jobs. For our CMSD school nurses, this means that students that we know need to see a doctor now have a much better chance to get the medical care they so desperately need."
MetroHealth will add clinics at nine more schools next year and is urging other providers to eventually join in so all schools are covered. Neighborhood Family Practice, based on the near West Side,
will help at two of the 11 sites added this year.
Treatment is free if not covered by insurance. MetroHealth, which has helped a number of the students' families obtain health coverage, picked schools near the system's medical centers in hopes the families will regularly visit those facilities, said Jesse Honsky, a registered nurse and head of MetroHealth’s School Health Program. Many of the families turn to hospital emergency rooms for routine care.
About a third of Mound students and 20 percent of Lincoln-West students took advantage of the services last school year, Honsky said. She said she believed launching the services during the year made it harder to get consent forms returned.
Honsky recently met with principals during training at Corporate College East in Warrensville Heights and said she would follow up with them individually. She said MetroHealth would promote the services at school events to build awareness as classes resume.
"We need your support," Honsky told the group. "We need principals out there saying this is a good thing for your students, this is a good thing for your families."