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McLeod Health and Florence 1 Schools Partner to Offer School-Based Telehealth Program

McLeod Health and Florence 1 Schools announced on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, a partnership to offer a School-Based Telehealth Program (SBTP) at four locations within Florence 1 Schools this school year. The participating schools include North Vista Elementary School, Wallace Gregg Elementary School, Williams Middle School and South Florence High School.

The School-Based Telehealth Program offers a new option for non-emergency medical care at these schools through McLeod TeleHealth visits with Lisa Wallace, a McLeod Nurse Practitioner. McLeod has provided each of the four schools with telehealth equipment including a computer, monitor, camera and other devices such as a remote stethoscope and otoscope.

Dr. Richard O’Malley, Superintendent of Florence 1 Schools, said that the district is proud to offer an innovative partnership like the School-Based Telehealth Program (SBTP) for its students. “The telehealth program provides a lot of benefits for our students and their parents,” O’Malley said. “During a visit, they are able to remotely connect to quality healthcare with a local provider using state-of-the-art equipment so we are saving them a lot of precious time. Parents don’t have to take off of work, students see a healthcare provider and they don’t miss a lot of important classroom instruction. That is a win-win for us and them.”

O’Malley explained that school nurses will continue to play a key role in their schools. “Our students know the nurses at their schools and they already take excellent care of their students,” O’Malley said. “Having them partnered with McLeod Providers through SBTP just adds another layer to the services we can offer our students within their school.”

Beth Holzbach, the Lead Nurse for Florence 1 Schools, added, “Our policy for school exclusion due to contagious illnesses will remain in effect, but in many instances, the student may be able to remain at school after receiving a diagnosis and a plan for care from the McLeod TeleHealth Provider. As school nurses, we want sick children to get well and be able to return to school quickly. We also want the students who can stay at school to remain at school and not miss valuable learning time in the classroom.”

Holzbach also said the School-Based Telehealth Program is truly a community effort, extending a sincere thank you to Bret Greer with Toledo Carolina for generously donating scales to the participating schools.

“The School-Based Telehealth Program offers many benefits for our children and community,” said Wallace. “In addition to providing a rapid diagnosis and treatment, our goal is to also increase access to better health care for every student. This will reduce absenteeism, risk of infection, and the use of the Emergency Department for non-emergent medical situations. However, this service is not designed to replace a student’s primary health care that is provided by their pediatrician or family physician.”

Matt Reich, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for McLeod Health, concluded the press announcement, adding, “Convenient access to healthcare is one of our nation’s major health care problems and this applies to patients of all ages. Timely access is also an essential focus for our McLeod team of doctors and practitioners. We all need the proper level of health care and in an expedient manner. 

“By partnering with Florence 1 Schools, we can leverage today’s powerful technology to bring the care to the patient instead of the patient physically going to the care. This patient-centric approach not only provides a convenient way to receive care, but most importantly, it ensures that students are receiving the health care they need. With McLeod TeleHealth, students will stay healthier and maximize their time in the classroom,” said Reich.

How the School-Based Telehealth Program Works:

·         When the school nurse believes a student should have a telehealth visit, she will send Wallace information on the student’s condition and their age, weight and vitals.

·         A McLeod TeleHealth appointment will be scheduled and the parent will receive an email link to connect to the visit.

·         Wallace will talk with the student about how they are feeling and get input from the parent on the child’s medical history.

·         The school nurse will then facilitate the exam using the peripheral aids so that Wallace can listen to the heart and lungs, check the ears, nose and throat, evaluate a rash or ask the nurse to swab for flu.

·         Before the visit ends, Wallace will ask the parent if they have any questions or concerns and if a prescription is necessary she will send it to the family’s regular pharmacy.