Dubbed the “School Based Health Center,” the doors opened for a dedication ceremony Thursday at Garfield Middle School for the second such clinic in two months to open in Butler County.
In January, Fairfield City Schools opened its school-based community health clinic. The Fairfield and Hamilton school health centers are among only a handful of on-campus medical centers in Southwest Ohio school districts.
“This is a great opportunity for students and all of Hamilton,” said Cheryl Kelley, a mother of two Hamilton school children, who came away impressed with the high-tech medical equipment and colorful new facility. “A lot of people are going to take advantage of this facility, especially all those families who live within walking distance.”
The health care center will be a great service to not only students, but also to the entire Hamilton community, according to Joni Copas, spokeswoman for Hamilton City Schools.
“This will improve the lives of our students and it is a wonderful investment to meet the needs of our students,” she said.
While Fairfield’s clinic is on school grounds next to the district’s intermediate school, Hamilton’s clinic is located inside Garfield Middle School at 250 N. Fair Ave.
Since opening in February, Fairfield Schools’ health clinic staff has been seeing between 10 and 20 patients per day, according to Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for Fairfield City Schools.
“Word is spreading about the center,” she said. “Its services meet the needs of our students and their families regardless of insurance. So often, many forgo medical, dental or vision care because of the difficulty finding providers that will accept their insurance, or because they have none.”
“We have seen 314 patients as of March 22, and opened officially the first week of February,” she said.
Having a school-based health center removes barriers that could keep children from achieving in the classroom, according to Gentry-Fletcher.
“It also gives relief to parents who would otherwise have to leave their jobs and lose pay to tend to their child’s healthcare needs,” she said.
Primary Health Solutions, a Butler County-based organization, has partnered with both Fairfield and Hamilton City Schools, OneSight, Interact for Health and Butler Behavioral Health Services to provide the services.
The eight staffers at the Hamilton clinic, which is 1,600 square feet after converting it from the school’s locker room and coach’s office, will be available to assist families with insurance enrollment, if uninsured. Services will not be provided without parental consent.
School-based healthcare can serve students differently, based on need. Medical services include immunizations, physical examinations for sports, work or annual physicals, asthma, or other chronic disease management and acute care for sick or injured students. Mental health services will be based on client need.
Vision services will include comprehensive eye examinations and the prescribing and dispensing of glasses if necessary. Dental services, provided by the PHS Mobile Dental Unit, will include preventative exams, cleanings, X-rays and corrective treatment as needed.
The Hamilton school clinic will begin seeing patients April 4, when the students return from spring break.