New Telemedicine program implemented in several Lawrence County schools

By Kaleena Ricketts

Beginning this school year, the majority of Lawrence County schools have probably seen a slight change in the way students are treated for medical ailments. Gone are the days of parents having to leave work, pick up their child and try to squeeze them in to an appointment with their physician, or even worse, urgent care or the emergency room, forcing the student to miss valuable time in the classroom.
Now, thanks to a grant funded by the USDA, students are able to take part in a virtual health clinic staffed completely by licensed nurse practitioners, called Patient Care Navigators, allowing students to be seen for sore throats, absessed teeth, ingrown fingernails or toenails, earaches and other common illnesses, as long as no fever is present.
When a student is not feeling well, they will be sent to see the school nurse, where, it will then be decided whether the student should be seen by a provider with the telemedicine clinic. At that time, the parents will be contacted.
Patient Care Navigator Jill Cook, who is working with the Mt. Vernon School District, as well as Miller, was quick to point out that students will not be seen without the parents or guardians being notified. If a parent is unable to come to the school to take part in the visit, they can be present through a webcam or smartphone, and will then be connected via the telemedicine equipment that is now on sight at the schools.
Once the child is seen and a diagnosis is made, it will be determined if the child is in need of medication, which at that time, a prescription will be called in to the pharmacy of the parent’s choice.
Students are not the only ones that can take advantage of this program. School faculty and staff can be seen by a provider as well.
“Lets say that a teacher isn’t feeling well. If they are able to have someone to cover their class for a few minutes, they are able to come down, have a visit and receive the medical attention they may need,” said Cook. “We will not see patients for cardiac issues, severe abdominal pain, seizures, mental issues, head injuries and eye injuries. Patients needing care for these symptoms, basically issues that need to be physically seen, felt or heard, will be sent to see a doctor.”
One of the many questions repeatedly asked about the program is cost. The cost of the visit will vary, depending on the student’s insurance provider, or whether or not insurance is applicable. Most visits are the same or similar to that of a regular doctor visit copay. Even if the student is not a regular CoxHealth patient, they will still be able to be seen by a provider, and out of pocket expense will be determined by the insurance carrier. If a family is unable to pay for the visit, Children’s Miracle Network picks up the tab.
All information regarding the visit and your student’s health, are kept completely confidential.  After the visit, all information regarding the appointment will be sent to the email provided by the parent or guardian.  
This may just be a one year grant, but if it seems to be heavily utilized, it is hoped that it is kept on a more long-term program.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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