STORY BY: Macie Clark
senior design editor
Attendance rates are a priority and the Nixa school district has designed a new way to help keep attendance rates high: With virtual health clinics at schools.
So far, there are three clinical locations; one at the high school, one at the junior high, and one at the early childhood center.
“The quicker your seen, the quicker you get treated, and then the quicker you get back to school without missing all those days,” Nixa Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Zac Rantz said.
The clinics were initially only offered to staff members and their families, but they later became available for all students at every school in Nixa.
“The clinics were mainly started because our teachers would talk about the lack of urgent care access in the school district,” Rantz said.
This program is a virtual clinic were any student, staff, and staff children are allowed to go and visit. Students should go to the school nurses first to make sure that a clinic visit is needed.
“The school nurses can refer you to the clinics, but the clinics are complete and totally private,” Rantz said.
HIPA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] is automatically put into use even though the clinic is inside the school walls.
These clinics are meant to save time for students and staff members. It is a way to decrease absences.
“If they can go have a 15-minute visit, then come straight back to class if they’re not contagious, that is the best thing,” Rantz said.
The clinic is set up just like an appointment, but instead of the doctor, the student and guardian meet with a doctor on a big monitor. A nurse is stationed at the clinic, assisting the doctor.
“[It is a] Mix of the urgent care clinics and also going to the doctor on your phone. It’s kind of a happy medium” Rantz said.
The clinic staff members, equipment, and more are available free of cost to any of the staff members at the school nor the district.
“The district will actually cover the cost for the staff members and their kids to go to the clinic,” Rantz said.
There is a fee for students who visit the clinic. The fee determines on what insurance plan you the students have. For students without insurance, there are programs that can help students pay for the visit.
For students to be able to go to the Clinic they have to go see a nurse first and get recommended. From there it is the nurse, nurse practitioner, and the student’s guardian all working together.
“We call their parents and recommend that they go see a doctor then we give them the option of going to the clinic. To be seen in the clinic the parents have to complete a consent form. If they do not have one on file they can complete one when they go for their visit,” head nurse of Nixa Schools District Teresa Griggs said.
If any student or staff member is wondering if they filled out the consent form it was sent out at the being of the year. However, all the forms are sent to CoxHealth offices and are never seen by the school nurses.
Griggs said she believes that the clinics are not only helping out the school nurses and
attendance, but that it is, “Very helpful and we can get students to a physician a lot quicker because they can go see them that day instead of waiting to get an appointment.”
The clinic is meant to be a happy ending to all the missed days that result from commutes to health clinics around the area.