The beginning of a new school year means a fresh start in a new grade, seeing one’s friends again after summer break, and hopefully, getting that homeroom teacher your child always wanted. It can also mean visiting the doctor for well-child or sports exams, updates on vaccinations.
Unfortunately, there are many families in the Quad Cities who can’t afford to take their child to the doctor. Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) has been offering a solution for many families for more than 20 years. Partners for Healthy Students (PHS) helps bridge the gap for uninsured or underinsured families, and those with AHCCCS or KidsCare, by bringing them no-cost healthcare.
“These are working-class families,” says Amy Negovan, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Program Director, Partners for Healthy Students. “They have good jobs, but don’t have that extra $400 to $500 per month for healthcare. Unfortunately, some families end up needing to choose between food and healthcare at the end of month.”
Caring for Kids Community-Wide
You may have seen the 38-foot Partners for Healthy Students Mobile Kids Health Clinic around town, which allows the medical team to offer healthcare at schools in rural areas like Mayer, Kirkland, and Paulden. But that’s just a part of the services offered by PHS. The program also has two on-site, school-based health clinics. The school-based clinics and mobile clinic combined serve more than 50 schools in the Quad Cities area, including public, private and charter schools.
“Healthy kids make better learners,” says Negovan. “We treat the whole patient, not just a symptom. At any given visit, we may ask if the student needs a physical or eye exam, or whether they’re up to date on their vaccines. We can even make referrals for mental health issues.”
“Scheduling and transportation are often difficult for these families. With Partners for Healthy Students, the child is right there at school and can go right back to their classroom,” Negovan explains. “Best of all, it’s high-quality, comprehensive healthcare that’s free of charge.”
Important Healthcare Services
Partners for Healthy Students’ Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioners offer the following to those who qualify, as well as their siblings, ages 2 months to 18 years old:
- Free wellness and prevention visits
- Free exams, diagnoses, and treatment of illness
- Free medication for acute illnesses
- Free sports physicals
- Referrals to additional low-cost or no-cost community services such as vision care, dermatology, neurology and cardiology
- No-cost mental health care referrals, in partnership with the YRMC Foundation
Susi Brouillette, RN, works as the nurse on the Partners for Healthy Students Mobile Kids Health Clinic.
“I can see that a lot of our families come into the clinic pretty burdened, and having a sick kiddo always makes those burdens heavier,” says Brouillette. “Most of our parents don’t know that our services are free, so when they learn there is no co-pay, there is always a sigh of relief.”
“We want to be that place that brings preventative care to kids who have nowhere else to go,” Negovan says. “What’s better than this kind of outreach? Where else can you do this? It’s the best job in the world.”
Overview of Eligibility
- No health insurance
- Health insurance with both: a deductible over $2,500, AND no co-pays before your health insurance will cover medical expenses
- Attend a brick-and-mortar school or has a sibling who does
- Children with AHCCCS and KidsCare are eligible
- Vaccine eligibility is only for those who are uninsured, have AHCCCS or KidsCare, or are Native American or Native Alaskan
For more information about PHS School-Based Health Clinics, call (928) 771-5662.
Submitted by Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center