West Baton Rouge students and teachers will soon be able to say so long to checking out of school for a doctor’s appointment. The School Board approved a contract with RKM at Port Allen High and Arbor Health at Brusly High for in-school clinics to open for the 2018-19 school year.
Arbor Health, which proposed the idea to the School Board, runs two in-school clinics for the Pointe Coupee School District. RKM operates school-based clinics for the East Feliciana School District and already provides some services to WBR schools through their Port Allen office.
School-based clinics have been an asset to students in Pointe Coupee by providing easier access to healthcare, Pointe Coupee Parish School Board Superintendent Kevin Lemoine said.
People from and familiar with the West Baton Rouge community operate both school-based clinics, a big plus for the program, WBR School Board Superintendent Wes Watts said.
The clinics will be staffed with Family Nurse Practitioners. A Registered Nurse will be provided to perform the school nurse services that parishes are mandated to provide students such as vision and hearings screenings, thus alleviating the school board’s responsibility of managing of healthcare needs of their student
The healthcare professionals are not to take the place of a primary care physician, but provide initial treatment, prescribe medications, conduct sports physicals, provide immunizations, and issue a referral to another physician if necessary. Contraception, as mandated by Louisiana law, will not be offered or available through the school-based clinics.
The clinics will offer additional mental health support to what schools already have in place, Watts said. Service is covered the same way as a regular doctor visit through insurance or Medicaid.
“It’s saving parents, it’s saving teachers, and the whole idea is it doesn’t cost you anything,” Watts said to the school board.