School Nurse? Nope; School Clinic | The Source Weekly
Mosaic Medical, a nonprofit community health organization, is developing a new school-based health center at Mountain View High School. The medical provider already established clinics at Bend High School, Redmond High School and M.A. Lynch Elementary. That’s in addition to La Pine Community Health Center’s health center at Gilchrist School and St. Charles Health Systems’ one adjacent to Sisters High School.
All the projects collaborate with Deschutes County Health Service to provide health care assessments, physical examinations, mental health services, vaccines and basic medical treatments. In Deschutes County the facilities are open to anyone 20 years old or younger living in the school district’s region. Student-led groups advise the medical centers on student health needs. A 2021 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found school-based health centers “support the health and mental health needs and the academic achievements of children and adolescents, particularly students with health disparities or poor access to health care.”
The Oregon Health Authority established school-based health centers to improve access to primary care and mental health services while reducing the barriers of high health care costs and the lack of insurance. OHA’s website says a healthy student population correlates with improved educational outcomes. OHA established the program in 1986 with just five clinics, a number that’s up to 78 now. Only local public health authorities were allowed to set up school-based health centers until 2019, when the state started allowing direct contracting for medical providers.
Mosaic Medical said it’ll offer its full range of services to students even if they don’t have the ability to pay. Nearly 30% of Mountain View students are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program and the Oregon Health Plan. The clinic will emphasize prevention, early intervention, risk reduction and healthy habits to its patients. Mosaic Medical reported that 90% of students seeking services got a same-day appointment in 2022, and estimated that three-quarters of those students wouldn’t receive same-day care without a school-based health center.
Mosaic is more than halfway to its fundraising goal of $200,000 after the Bend Foundation, Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation and First Interstate BancSystem donated over $40,000 collectively. The health center is anticipating that the center will open in spring.