Sep 12, 2019 -- Heights High is very excited to announce a new and expanded partnership with MetroHealth Hospitals, who will be providing on-site care to students at the high school twice each month, starting in September.
The School Health Program was designed to help eliminate barriers to receiving health care as well as to provide a convenient option for students who already have a pediatrician or local provider. Any student who registers can access the care of the on-site doctor and nurse practitioner, whether for routine immunizations, physicals required for sports or work permits, or temporary issues like diagnosing strep throat or pinkeye that would otherwise require a parent to schedule an appointment and take time off work.
The convenience factor is high on the list of positives for this program, which is run by 1991 Heights High graduate Vanessa Maier. Students will have the chance to discuss common adolescent concerns and sexual health with a nonjudgmental professional. The providers are able to order lab tests, prescribe medications, and refer to specialists, as needed. The proximity of the MetroHealth facility at Severance, complete with an emergency room, patient beds, and specialty care, is another plus. The student’s health insurance will be billed when appropriate, though there are never any co-pays. The program will remain free of charge to those without health care.
This important opportunity was a major focus of the Community In Schools Task Force, which worked last year to identify gaps in services that would more fully ensure student success and well-being. Nancy Peppler, the Supervisor of Community Partnerships who helped bring this new venture to Heights, said, “While we live in the middle of a rich health care environment, there are still many students who need a school-based option.” She referred to the over 100 incoming seniors who were not up-to-date on their vaccinations last spring due to changing state requirements. Now they can receive their vaccinations right at school, with minimal absences.
Improving attendance is one of the three main goals of the School Health program, along with improving grades, and reducing ER visits. All three have been achieved in the Cleveland Municipal School District through its similar partnership with Metro.
The district urges all parents to fill out the consent form allowing their high schooler to receive care. Even if they have a regular pediatrician and health insurance, the convenience factor makes this option more than worth it. The clinic will be offered twice per month on every other Friday starting September 20. This does not impact the current school nurses, who remain at the high school fulltime and who will work in partnership with MetroHealth to benefit all our students.