‘Mobile clinic’ proposed for Nelson County Schools

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By Kacie Goode

If a contract with Communicare is approved at the district’s July 18 board meeting, Nelson County Schools could soon have access to health services to benefit students, staff and families.

The proposal was made for a physical health services agreement at the July 6 working session and was well received by the board.

“This is really going to be providing that additional level of service to our students,” board member Damon Jackey said.

The contract, presented by Communicare regional services administrator Brittany Rigney, will allow access to a nurse fractioned at no cost to the district.

“It’s a win-win situation for us,” said Bob Morris, Nelson County Schools Director of Student Support Services.

Under the contract, several services will be provided to both students and staff within the Nelson County Schools District. Those services include diagnosis and treatment of illnesses within the school setting, physicals, immunizations, and referrals to outside providers. Communicare will bill private insurance, and the district will not be responsible for any cost unless school personnel request drug testing for a student. Drug testing will be done at a cost of $10 per drug screening. Parents could also request the tests.

The proposal is similar to an on-site clinic that Bardstown City Schools implemented in recent years, thought Nelson County’s larger number of school buildings will mean the services in the NCS district will be considered “mobile.”

“We would look to expand as it grows,” Rigney said.

To start, Morris said, services will likely be offered out of Nelson County High School and Foster Heights Elementary as centralized district locations.

A school nurse will be responsible for determining whether a student will need to see the nurse practitioner for further evaluation and treatment. Antibiotics and other needs would be submitted to a pharmacy electronically.

Rigney said students 16 or older could make their own appointment at the clinic, but parents or guardians would need to be met with at or before initial visits. Parental consent would be required for treatment of any child.

Offering advanced health services in schools has become a growing trend in school systems across the country, and those such as Bardstown and schools in Louisville that have completed their first year with on-site clinics have seen improved attendance and shorter absences from school due to illness.

The board will be asked to approve the contract at its regular meeting July 18.