Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Schools started in-person school on Monday, September 28th and along with students attending class for the first time this year, schools also have another first: available medical care in all schools.
The schools have partnered with local healthcare provider A Plus Family Healthcare, who will provide care at no cost to the school system, called "A Plus KidCare." While Edmonson County Schools are providing office space and internet, A Plus is footing the bill for their resources and personnel.
The clinic will have medical assistants at South Edmonson, Kyrock, and another that will share duties between ECHS and ECMS, which are joined. The Edmonson County school nurse will be stationed at the EC 5/6 center, who will work with the medical assistants. Each school's medical personnel will be equipped with telehealth resources that will allow any student to see on of the many nurse practitioners on the A Plus team, virtually.
"Students that receive Medicaid benefits will receive the medical services of A Plus at no charge," said Superintendent Brian Alexander. "Other families have the option of receiving services much like taking a child to the doctor; the child's insurance may be billed for services that arise that are billable services. Providing band aids, ice, etc. are not billable services. The advantageous part of this partnership for working families is that, through telehealth services, a child can be seen for a non-contagious medical issue and never have to leave school, and parents won't have to leave work to pick up their child, take them to the doctor and return them to school. As a superintendent and board, we felt this would be a positive for the families of Edmonson County."
Alexander said any student can opt out of the medical services, as services provided at school are not required; however, he said the clinic is offering services that have never been available to students at school until now.
"A Plus is also providing state-of-the-art telehealth equipment and other resources that will test for COVID, strep, and flu in a matter of minutes," he said.
A Plus CEO Patrick Merritt said the main purpose for partnering with local schools is to break down barriers that prevent many kids from receiving much needed healthcare.
"A Plus has been fortunate over the past several years to be given the opportunity to expand into our school system right here in our hometown and Mr. Alexander and the Board of Education were overwhelmingly supportive when A Plus presented School Based Health Centers to EC," he said. This opportunity helps ensure well kids stay in our classrooms and sick kids return to the classroom as soon as possible. Tons of counties throughout the state of KY have been privileged for years with school clinics and now it's time for our hometown kids to have the same luxury at home. One thing we've heard repeatedly from other school districts is that sick kids do not learn as well as healthy kids."
Another advantage both the schools and the clinic say students will have is the ability to receive medication from medical personnel, something teachers nor staff can provide.
Supt. Alexander said he considers this opportunity a blessing for families with students in the district.
"For working families, this partnership will allow for students to have medical treatment and parents do not have to leave work, and students to not have to leave school," he said. "I appreciate the school board's willingness to enter into this agreement with A Plus, and I appreciate the investment A Plus is making in the students of Edmonson County."