PLAQUEMINE — A Kenner-based community health center looking to work in the Iberville Parish School System received a vote of confidence Monday night from the district’s top nurse.
Andrea Young, the school system’s lead nurse, told board members a pitch from Access Health Louisiana to establish a school-based health clinic at Plaquemine High in January would help provide better, more-thorough care to the district’s teens and serve as a convenience to parents who would have to take off from work to take students to the doctor.
“I’m impressed that the school district could see reimbursements from the company if we do this,” Young said at Monday night’s regular meeting. “This will help fund our nursing program — that’s something the district has never had before.”
The administration first presented the School Board with a proposal from Access Health in August, touting it as a way to provide quality health care to Iberville students amid annually shrinking Medicaid allotments the district uses, in part, to pay its school nurses.
The chief financial officer has said previously the district is expected to see an approximately 60 percent reduction in Medicaid funds this year.
The administration claims federally approved health centers like what’s being proposed by Access Health could help the district offset its nurses salaries by allowing them to work at the various health centers when needed. Access Health would reimburse the school district for their time.
The proposal states the school district won’t have to front any money to open the school-based clinics. Federally qualified health centers are funded by Medicaid and private insurance.
Besides making remarks to the board, Young also provide members with a letter detailing the reasons she supports the new health system.
In the letter, Young lauded school-based health centers as being able to provide much-needed care school nurses can’t give.
“The goal is to provide continuity of care, not to take away business from local physicians,” Young wrote. “Students will still be referred to their physicians for problems that the clinic cannot handle.”
Young wrote high school students don’t normally seek health care outside of normal school hours making Access Health’s presence that more important.
“The medical needs of the students at PHS, especially for counseling services that cannot be provided by a registered nurse, would support a full-time nurse practitioner and a licensed certified social worker,” Young wrote.
If successful at Plaquemine High, Access Health has plans to open more school-based clinics, most likely in east Iberville schools, which recently lost their school-based clinics after the board dissolved its old agreement with St. Gabriel Health Clinic.
The board will likely vote up or down on an agreement with Access Health next month.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter @tjonesreporter.