School board approves new contract for health services

Published 6:33 am Thursday, March 16, 2017

Partnership will create school-based health clinics

STANFORD – The Lincoln County School Board has entered into a partnership with Cumberland Family Medical Center (CFMC) to provide health services to students in the district through school-based health clinics.
Board members heard a presentation on CFMC’s Healthy Kids Clinic during the March 9 meeting.
The partnership would provide a nurse practitioner, accompanied by an LPN, who would travel throughout the Lincoln County School District providing health services to students and staff, according to documentation provided by Jackie Risden-Smith, director of Instructional Equity and Academic Support.
“They are very reputable,” Risden-Smith told board members last Thursday night. “They’re in eight districts (and) they’ve been in districts for about three or four years so a lot of the policies and procedures, and I guess ‘growing pains’, have kind of been fixed, so they have a lot of systems in place.”
The new program not only provides oral health services on a dental mobile unit, but also comprehensive exams for participating students at no cost to the district. Primary care services includes “MD oversight and referral; NP acute care visits; NP preventative care; immunizations; well-child visits; sports physicals; vision, hearing and scoliosis screenings; nutrition counseling; asthma treatment; care for infants of students; prescriptions for medications; and administration of daily medications.”
Lincoln County is one school district that CFMC said they would actively seek a licensed clinical social worker for to provide behavior health services as well.
Risden-Smith said earlier this year, Superintendent Michael Rowe asked that the district explore all possible options that would bring students more services while saving the general fund necessary costs.
“We reached out to our largest local provider, met and discussed options for a partnership and followed-up again after final conversations with Healthy Kids Clinic,” she said. “Unfortunately, they were not able to come close to matching the services provided by Healthy Kids Clinic and (we) agreed that the partnership with Healthy Kids Clinic would be great for our students. We look forward to our continued partnership with community providers.”
Not only will the current nursing staff remain – though they will become employees of CFMC through this new program – but they will also receive a 10 percent increase in their salary, Risden-Smith said.
According to the “benefits of implementation” presented by the Healthy Kids Clinic representatives, the district’s six full-time nurses would share responsibility across schools: Hustonville and McKinney Elementary will share a nurse, as well as Highland and Crab Orchard Elementary, while Wayneburg, Lincoln County Middle School, Lincoln County High School and Stanford Elementary will each have nurses.
“CFMC would pay 51 percent of the total salary and fringe benefits of the school nurses,” the document states. “Lincoln County Board of Education would reimburse CFMC the other 49 percent.”
Risden-Smith said the new contract will save the district about $168,000.
Additionally, CFMC offers nurses 401K benefits with a match of up to four percent after their first 90 days at the beginning of the quarter, according to Megan McMillan,  a chief nursing officer with CFMC.
McMillan said health insurance is also offered through Baptist Family Health, as well as wellness programs, vision, dental and critical illness. Free scrubs for nurses on an annual basis is yet another added benefit of the program, she said.
The Healthy Kids Clinic’s school-based health program began three years ago and has since spread to seven school districts in the state, making Lincoln County the eighth district to sign a contract.
“A lot of school districts are in the same situation. School health can be expensive and you have only a certain amount of money (and) you have to try to prioritize that,” she said.
CFMC will provide the school-based health clinics with supplies at no cost to the district, as well as basic first-aid and CPR training. CFMC will serve as the medical director.
Lincoln Superintendent Michael Rowe said the partnership almost seemed too good to be true at first.
“I couldn’t imagine a better scenario for our kids right now than what this is,” Rowe said. “To say that we can save money while we’re doing it, I never would’ve thought that was a possibility.”
School board members unanimously approved the one-year contract with CFMC to provide Healthy Kids Clinic services in the district.
“All of the nurses seem to be on board with it so that’s a plus,” said board member Theresa Long.
Risden-Smith said the new partnership will add to the great services already provided by school nurses in the district.
“We had seven new nurses start in Lincoln this past fall. They’ve provided exemplary nursing services to our students this year,” she said. “We’re fortunate to have this group of kid-centered professionals on our team here in Lincoln County.”
In other business, the board:
• Approved the use of trained volunteers and mentors in all Lincoln County Schools to mentor identified students.
“We were approached by Stanford Mayor Eddie Carer about a program currently in Boyle County and we’ve got a lot of folks in that area that are volunteering to mentor students, kind of like big-brother and big-sister, to provide counseling,” said superintendent Rowe. “We know there is a drug epidemic that has hit pretty hard, not just in this area. This is a chance to provide some kind of service to those students who counselors identify as somebody who may need a mentor to come in and talk to them about the dangers of drugs or may even be a student who we identify is on drugs.”
Board member Theresa Long said she thinks the district did something similar about 16 or 17 years ago and it was very successful. The motion was approved unanimously by the board.
• Heard a construction report on the Stanford Early Childhood Center addition. Trace Creek Construction Manager Paul Marshall said the project is about two weeks behind schedule but once the roof is in place it will speed up the process. Marshall said the roof should be complete in about five to six weeks.