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Lakewood High School to open Cleveland Clinic health center for students and staff

Sun Post-Herald - 9/15/2017

LAKEWOOD, Ohio - This fall the Lakewood City Schools plans on opening a School Based Health Center at Lakewood High School. The designated facility will provide health care services, including mental health services, to High School students and district employees.

"We're doing this in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic," Lakewood City School Director of Pupil Services Lisa Bruening said. "There is no cost to us. It will operate during school hours. On Wednesday afternoons it will only be a teen health clinic.

"We have a psychiatrist who will be coming through for four hours a week and also a social worker that will work with students on mental health areas of need. While there are other districts offering physical health and checkups of children, the mental health piece is very innovative and very new."

Cleveland Clinic Children's School-Based Health Center Medical Director Dr. Genevive Falconi said according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies show that school-based health care programs have a positive effect on children's academic performance.

"Children who are healthy are also better learners," Falconi said. "Providing health care in the school to students who would otherwise be sent home or to a provider outside of the school also reduces absenteeism and missing out on learning time.

"By providing access to care in the place where families and children live, we're able to reach out to individuals who may otherwise go without."

The Lakewood High School facility's onsite clinical team will include a certified nurse practitioner and behavioral health specialist.

Boasting patient exam and consulting rooms, the Center, which is scheduled to be open by early November, will provide mental health evaluations, physicals, prescriptions, sick visits, vaccinations and Shared Medical Appointments (SMA), as well as help with managing chronic conditions (i.e. asthma and diabetes).

"We are so excited about this program because it's the first in-school health center for Cleveland Clinic Children's," said Falconi, who noted the Cleveland Clinic established its School Based Health Centers in 2014 to increase access to general pediatric care to kids and teens in underserved neighborhoods throughout Northeast Ohio.

That same year the Cleveland Clinic Children's Mobile Unit, which is described as a full-service pediatric office on wheels, started providing care for Lakewood City Schools at no cost to the district.

So far Bruening said there are 238 parents who have registered their children for Mobile Unit care, which doesn't replace the school nurse who still sees students dealing with fevers, stomach aches, playground falls, etc.

"The Mobile Unit travels from different schools," Bruening said. "If the parents registered their child, the student is escorted from the building to see a nurse practitioner in the Mobile Unit. That runs every Thursday."

Added Falconi, "Over the years, the program has been well received. We're extremely grateful that the district sees the value. Our goal is to ensure that we can deliver care to even more children and teens in the best way possible and in a manner that feels seamless to families."


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