By Rachel Herrington, The Citizen-Times, December 7, 2017
When you’re feeling under the weather, the last thing you want to do is endure a long wait at a doctor’s office.
Staff and students within the Allen County School District now have the option of avoiding these lines and receiving care, literally right next door.
“Med Center Health is excited about the opportunity to work with Allen County schools to offer additional health services to our school system,” said a Med Center press release.
Completely separate from the Vanderbilt Telemedicine program that will soon serve students at no cost, the Med Center clinic will be an extension of the main Primary Care Clinic, billing insurance or collecting co-pays for services rendered to students as well as staff and family members of faculty at all schools. Nurse practitioner Linda Stovall will be the provider, along with one or two other medical personnel.
The satellite clinic will offer many benefits to the school system, said Director of Business Operations Brian Carter. Among those is convenience.
Any student, faculty or staff member who becomes ill during the school day, for instance, can make an appointment or walk in as necessary. Even if a student is at home sick, their parent can opt to bring them to the satellite clinic, potentially avoiding a long wait time at a doctor’s office.
“Linda is a great nurse practitioner and the community is already very familiar with her,” added Med Center administrator Eric Hagan. “This will allow access to healthcare for all students and faculty, Hagan said.
Common illnesses such as a cold, sinus infection, strep or stomach virus will be evaluated and prescriptions called in if necessary.
“Students may even be able to go back to class,” Carter said.
“This initiative provides care in the most convenient and timely manner possible,” the press release stated. “We’re hoping it cuts down on faculty absences,” Carter said, adding that adults often put off going to the doctor until their symptoms become too bad to ignore. With at least one day of afternoon hours, teachers can utilize their afternoon planning time to go see Stovall. DOT and sports physicals will also be offered at the satellite clinic.
“Anything she can do at her clinic, she can do here at a more convenient spot for our faculty and students,” Carter said.
If a student needs to see Stovall while at school, a parent must either give verbal permission over the phone, meet their child for their appointment or bring the student in if he or she is at home sick. Stovall added that for parents who can’t afford to miss work to take their sick child to get care, this option could be beneficial.
“Factories have nurse practitioners on staff, so I believe the school system can benefit from this,” she added.
The satellite clinic is set up in the high school across from the gymnasium, with signage directing patients to be placed this week, Carter said. The Med Center has donated two exam beds, along with office furniture and other medical equipment for the clinic.
“All we are out is space,” Carter added.
Carter said the hours the clinic is open now until school lets out for Christmas break on December 15 is a trial period, to work out any kinks.
For now, clinic hours are Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. until noon and Tuesdays from 12:30-4:30 p.m. They will follow the school calendar, closing for holidays and other breaks observed by the district.