New health clinic coming to Rogers High School, administrators hope it will help with attendance

It’s going to be a one of a kind in Spokane Public Schools when it opens this fall, a new health clinic aimed at helping students and, down the road, community members.

“It will mean that any sort of medical problem you have, whether it’s a chronic illness like asthma or acute like a sore throat, or any other issues high school students might have, you can walk in and get help,” said Dr. William Lockwood, Chief Clinical Officer for CHAS Health, one of the partners behind the project.

Kaiser Permanente is also helping fund the effort with a nearly $600,000 investment for three years. An additional $130,000 was raised from the community.

The clinic should make healthcare more available to students who may have limited access to it currently.

“We have a lot of kids that have health deficits,” said Lori Wyborney, Rogers’ Principal, “and they don’t have a lot of health care options.”

For perspective, she says that approximately 81 percent of her students are dependent on free and reduced lunches.

“Our kids just don’t get the advantages that kids from more affluent families get,” she said.

She says the need for access to healthcare is most apparent when measuring attendance rates.

“Our attendance rate should be in the 90’s but it sits in the mid-70’s and 80’s,” she said. “The reality is that when our kids get the flu or a cold, it puts them down for a while because they aren’t getting the medical care they need.”

She hopes that the clinic will help keep kids in better shape and keep them at school, or at the very least, shorten time spent at home sick.

When the clinic opens in the fall, she says there will be a big push for education.

“The big thing for our kids is letting them know they don’t need insurance to get in there,” she said, “because they will often avoid them if they don’t have it.”

The clinic will have an advanced nurse practitioner, a medical assistant, and in the first year a part-time behavioural health provider. In the second year that provider will be full time.

“We plan to be open eight hours a day, five days a week, with reduces access in the summer,” said Lockwood.

The clinic will have three exam rooms, space to get immunizations and basic lab services.

There will be basic dental services offered with the ability to get referred to dental clinics as well for more in depth treatments.

Lockwood says that if a student has insurance, that will be billed first, and if not, they will work on payment options, but bottom line access is guaranteed.

“Nobody is turned away and everyone will get seen,” he said.

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