Decatur County schools receive grants for telehealth centers at two elementary schools

memorial_logoMemorial Hospital and Manor announces receipt of grant funding from the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth to operate a rural school-based telehealth program at Jones Wheat and West Bainbridge Elementary Schools.

On September 16, 2014, The Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth announced two awards to Memorial Hospital and Manor along with Memorial Pediatrics for the periods 2014-2015 totaling $60,000 to establish school-based telehealth centers at Jones Wheat and West Bainbridge Elementary Schools in Bainbridge, Georgia.

StethoscopeThe purpose of the school based health centers are to:

  • Provide primary medical care and behavioral health services at each site.
  • Offer health services in the school building or on campus in a space that is adequate for
    service provision and that ensures confidentiality.
  • Utilize outreach activities to enroll students and encourage use of the school-based
    telehealth center(s) throughout the school year.
  • Integrate health promotion efforts with the school community served by the schoolbased
    telehealth center(s).
  • Maintain a Community Advisory Council (CAC) which has clearly-defined roles in
    guiding sustainability efforts, monitoring quality improvement, and lending expertise
    in helping to promote the school-based health center(s) to the broader community.
  • Target services to student populations with documented needs such as low-income
    status, lack of access to primary care, uninsured or underinsured, and/or evidence of
    poor health status.
  • Link with community resources for services not provided onsite.
Billy Walker, CEO of Memorial Hospital and Manor
Billy Walker, CEO of Memorial Hospital and Manor

The health center in each school will have access to the primary care provider via telehealth links, or direct phone access to our pediatric clinic and emergency department staff. Where appropriate, our medical provider may attend to a medical situation in person at the health center when a telehealth interface is inadequate to provide an ideal assessment. If communication is required for outside consultants and providers, that will occur through established HIPAA compliant channels and established EHR links with authorized partners. Billy Walker, CEO and Winston Price, M.D., Pediatric Chair, both of Memorial Hospital and Manor are the primary sponsors of the SBTC grant working in direct collaboration with Dr. April Aldridge, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from the Decatur County Board of Education.

“The partnership between Memorial Pediatrics and the Decatur County School System fostered by the SBTC initiative will forge a lasting bridge toward improving health outcomes and providing greater access to care for populations at risk” says Dr. Price.

Dr. April Aldridge stated, “Both Dr. Rayfield and I feel positive that the impact of this community partnership will be beneficial to our students at the two selected elementary schools. The addition of TeleHealth Centers will provide access to primary health services to our students. We look forward to this positive collaboration with our community health partners and hope that this opportunity will be expanded in the future to other school sites.” “This is great news that we are excited to share with the community. This is another way that we can provide better access to health care for our community. We know that this partnership will be a success, and look forward to working with the Decatur County Board of Education to provide additional care for the children of Decatur County,” said Billy Walker, CEO of Memorial Hospital and Manor.

Background Information:

Georgia Partnership for Telehealth ( Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth has become one of the most robust, comprehensive networks in the nation. GPT’s experience in implementing Telemedicine includes nursing homes, school clinics, correctional facilities, specialty clinics, Emergency Departments, ICUs, TPA stroke assessments, child advocacy, education, primary and specialty care physician clinics. This statewide collaboration among policy makers, healthcare providers and patients has led to a tremendous rate of success. In January, 2013 GPT reported patient encounters increasing from 8 patient visits in 2006 to over 75,000 in 2012. GPT now has over 350 locations with over 200 specialists and healthcare providers, representing over 40 specialties participating in network. Providing access to healthcare via telemedicine has proven to cut costs on travel, work time and provides earlier access to care therefore preventing the large costs of untreated healthcare problems. GPT’s services and support can provide a state of the art telehealth solutions for Georgians. School-based health centers are defined in the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2009:

(A)IN GENERAL.—The term ‘school-based health center’ means a health clinic that: (i) is located in or near a school facility of a school district or board or of an Indian tribe or tribal organization; (ii) is organized through school, community, and health provider relationships; (iii) is administered by a sponsoring facility; (iv) provides through health professionals primary health services to children in accordance with State and local law, including laws relating to licensure and certification; and (v) satisfies such other requirements as a State may establish for the operation of such a clinic.

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