Sioux Falls students went back to school last week for the 2009-2010 school year. That also means the doors opened for the 2nd year to an onsite Avera Health Center at Washington High School for Washington students. Here's more on the school-based clinic made possible by a grant, a partnership and a will by Avera Health to keep kids well and in school.
Sioux Falls Washington High School Sophomore Zak Skorczewski is doing exactly what Certified Physician Assistant Bonnie Bleeker hopes his classmates will do. And that is when you aren't feeling well take advantage of the McGreevy Avera Run Health Center located right in the front offices. Zak's mom says it's worked great for both her Washington High students.
Tami Skorczewski says, "I find it helps when the kids are feeling sick, but not too sick to stay home, that they can come to school and be seen by the PA. She can look at them, calls me with a report, calls in their prescription to the pharmacy and it's great. The kids can stay in school and I can stay at work. It's really helped our family and it's so convenient."
This is the first school-based health center in South Dakota. It's a partnership between the SD Department of Social Services, the Sioux Falls School District and Avera Health. It's funded by Federal Grants and no treatment is given without the consent of the parent first.
Bonnie Bleeker, PA-C says, "We see students mainly for sore throats, ear aches, and for coughs. We can do rapid strep, mono and urinary tract infection tests as well. If something is more serious we will call McGreevy Clinic Avera, set up an appointment and send them over there. If it's emergency, we will call for an ambulance."
The reason Avera picked this area and Washington High School is because of the diversity here. 13 counties are represented in the student body and many of the kids have never had medical care. They hope to change that.
Bleeker says, "Hopefully, we are making a big impact on the students. Hopefully we are helping them take responsibility for their health and also keep them at school and keep them healthy. We are helping them learn about prevention and care as they grow older and go off to college."
What a perfect place to teach about healthy living, wellness and prevention and now that Zak got cleared for class he'll head back to German.
Dr. Shari Eich is a pediatrician at the main McGreevy Clinic Avera and also the Medical Director for WHSHC (Washington High Student Health Center).