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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

School-clinic partnership will aim for better care


Jonathan Patberg

Kids at Lake Roosevelt Schools will have more direct access to health care if a plan to that end pans out between Coulee Medical Center and Lake Roosevelt Schools.

The project was taken on by a University of Washington third-year medical student studying at CMC.

"Across the nation there's this new trend of school-based health centers," explained Jonathan Patberg, speaking at a Rotary Club luncheon last week.

In some places, that means building a clinic inside a school, but not here, Patberg said. Here it would involve a schedule, coordination with parents, and a bus.

Nothing has been formally agreed upon yet, Patberg said, but the schools superintendent and the CEO of the hospital both indicated enthusiasm at the meeting.

Patberg said the school nurse's office reports seeing students whose medical needs go beyond what she can provide. For some students, nobody else is providing it either. And those are the students who stand to benefit most.

The school will set a weekly schedule with CMC, whose health care providers will block out time to receive students enrolled in the program. The school will provide transportation and a school nurse will go along.

Before that happens, parents and guardians will be introduced to the idea and their kids signed up for the program. If they don't have insurance, they'll get help signing up for the state's Apple Health program, or for any appropriate insurer through the state's health exchange.

Information booths will be set up at a Student Leads Conference June 4 and at a back-to-school orientation event in August.

In a survey, 64 percent of parents said their children would either definitely or probably use the school-clinic program. Sixteen percent would not, and 19 percent weren't sure.

Forty-eight percent already take their children to CMC for health care, 24 percent go to Indian Health Service, and 11 percent go elsewhere.

Patberg just finished a five-month stint at CMC.

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