Thanks to a recent grant, the Walsh Intermediate School Based Health Center will be working with Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) to open 45 minutes before school starts in order to extend current service time to meet the needs of families who may have urgent care needs, are enrolled in the school based health center and are need of services. The new extended hours program begins Nov. 1.
Walsh was selected by the Connecticut Health Foundation, the state’s largest independent health philanthropy, to receive a $25,000 grant that is designed to avoid or reduce school absences and to keep kids out of emergency rooms. Walsh enrolls 916 students in grades five to eight. This is a school based health clinic that is partially funded by the Department of Public Health and YNHH.
“Making care available on an urgent-care basis before school is expected to prevent extended absenteeism, unattended medical issues, emergency room visits, and missed school time. This addition to the school-based health center’s services is part of a partnership with Yale-New Haven Hospital,” the foundation said in announcing the grant.
In applying for the grant, Walsh officials wrote that “during the past 134 school days of the 2016-2017 school year, 636 students missed at least one single day of school, due to illness. These 636 students account for 2,418 missed days of school and of these 636 students, 340 unduplicated students missed 2 or more consecutive days of school due to a medical illness or injury.”
The application also notes that two school-based health centers in New Haven – at Davis Street School and Mauro-Sheridan Inter-district Magnet School – have started offering services outside school hours.
Melanie Wilde, the program director for the school district’s health programs, said in an interview that often students become ill in the evening. This new program will allow parents to bring their child to Walsh for evaluation from Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. before all students arrive at the building. By extending the hours to before school starts, parents have the option to have their child assessed, diagnosed and treated before school. If a student is found to be fit to go to class, the student will remain at school and if they are found unfit medically they will return home with their parents. This program is available to only enrolled students who attend Walsh Intermediate. It is not open to all district students.
The first step a parent or guardian should take is to call the School Based Health Center the morning of their child’s illness or injury to ensure that a nurse practitioner is available. The phone number is: 203-315-6879. “If your child is medically fit for school he/she can remain, thereby decreasing absenteeism and lost class time. Our nurse practitioner will communicate with your pediatrician and pharmacy as needed,” a flyer set to go out to parents soon states.
According to the Foundation, Connecticut is transforming care delivery statewide by “creating sustainable, effective linkages between clinical and community settings to improve access to preventive and chronic care services. Positioned within school settings, and with primary and behavioral health services co-located, school-based health centers (SBHCs) help students overcome barriers to accessing care.”
The Branford grant is one of eight awarded this quarter by the Connecticut Health Foundation.