Winter in the Quad Cities means that school is in full swing, winter sports are underway and students are starting to wonder when their next snow day might take place. It also means that YRMC’s Partners for Healthy Students is on the road again, bringing healthcare services to schools throughout the Quad Cities.
In-school clinics as well as a fully-equipped mobile kid’s health clinic ensure that Director Amy Negovan, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and her staff bring health services, free of charge, to uninsured and underinsured families who may not otherwise have the resources to seek medical attention for their children.
“These are working-class families,” says Negovan. “They have good jobs, but don’t have that extra $400 to $500 per month for healthcare. Unfortunately, some families end up needing to choose between food and healthcare at the end of month.”
Bringing medical care directly to the schools makes it easier for working parents to schedule and keep their children’s appointments.
“For rural Arizona, that is nothing short of a miracle!” says Michelle Perey, Administrator of Kirkland Elementary School District #23. “In the past, parents would need to keep a student, or even an entire family home in order to make an appointment in town for a sick child. Having a mobile clinic come to our school completely eliminates that worry.”
Patrice Sparks, School Nurse at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School, notes the benefit of same-day or next-day medical attention. “Kids can be back in school more quickly after illnesses, which in turn helps the students have better attendance,” she says.
Negovan agrees, “Healthy kids make better learners.”
Partners for Healthy Students offers a wide array of services, which include:
- Wellness and prevention visits
- Exams, diagnoses and treatment of illness
- Sports physicals
- Prescriptions for acute illnesses
- Referrals to community services
Perhaps the most visible feature of Partners for Healthy Students is its state-of-the-art, 38-foot mobile medical clinic, specifically designed for the program.
“The mobile clinic allows us to go out to the rural areas that have always asked for our services. These are the schools in smaller communities, like Mayer, Kirkland and Paulden,” says Negovan. “There’s no space to set up a clinic at these locations, but now, with the mobile clinic, we’re able to bring our healthcare services to these students too.”
Thanks to the mobile clinic, vaccines, which need to be refrigerated and monitored throughout the day, can now be offered as well.
The latest addition to the program is a minivan, funded by the Pendleton Memorial Fund. The van allows staff to transport medical equipment to the in-school clinics in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley, which saves them from having to purchase a separate medical set-up for each school.
Partners for Healthy Students was established in 1998. In 2015, it provided 1,300 visits. “That number has been steadily increasing the last four years,” says Negovan. “YRMC’s mission is to provide high quality healthcare consistent with our community’s needs. How can we afford not to do this? Children are the most vulnerable population there is.”
A parent from Lake Valley Elementary School agrees, “This program is a life saver for my family.”
“Unfortunately, right now I’m in a difficult financial situation,” says a Prescott High School parent. “Without Partners for Healthy Students, I don’t know how I would have been able to take my child to the doctor.”
Partners for Healthy Students provides healthcare services at no cost to eligible children—and their siblings—from participating school districts. For eligibility information or to make an appointment at the school-based health clinics in Humboldt, Chino Valley and Prescott Unified School Districts, call (928) 771-5662. For eligibility information or to make an appointment for the mobile kids health clinic, which travels to schools in Kirkland, Mayer, Paulden and the Prescott area, call (928) 771-5123. You can also visit the Partners for Healthy Students page on yrmc.org under the Support and Community dropdown tab.