ST. LOUIS– As students head back to school, nothing disrupts the rhythm like getting sick. For students and parents, it’s an unavoidable glitch that requires kids to miss school and parents to miss work in order to get to medical appointments. For Roosevelt High School students in St. Louis, access to medical care just got easier.
Thanks to a partnership between Mercy and St. Louis Public Schools, along with a grant from The Boeing Company, Mercy opened its first school-based clinic at Roosevelt on Aug. 13. Open during school hours, five days a week, Mercy Clinic at Roosevelt offers care for Roosevelt staff, students and the students’ children who participate in the school’s Parent-Infant Interaction Program.
“Boeing makes significant investments to make a positive impact in the communities where our employees live and work,” said George Roman, Boeing vice president for State and Local Government Operations and St. Louis Regional Executive. “Supporting Mercy’s endeavor to make health care convenient to both Roosevelt students and staff with the opening of this unique clinic was a very easy decision that aligns with our community giving objectives and will dramatically improve the overall education experience at the school.”
With some 2,000 school-based health clinics nationwide, studies show that school clinics improve the health of children while minimizing time lost from school. As a pilot project, Mercy and St. Louis Public Schools will study outcomes and impact.
“We want to hear directly from students and staff because it will have a tremendous impact on how we move forward,” said Dr. Bob Bergamini of Mercy’s Center for Innovative Care. “The feedback will help us determine if this is a sustainable model that can be replicated in other communities across the four states Mercy serves.”
The program came about when Mercy was contacted by the Community Alliance to Reinvigorate Education team at Roosevelt. Together, Mercy and St. Louis Public Schools agreed a Mercy Clinic at Roosevelt would be extremely beneficial to both students and staff.
Mercy Clinic at Roosevelt offers routine physicals; sports physicals; care for unexpected illness such as upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, ear infections and sore throat; asthma care; immunizations; and treatment for children of currently enrolled students. Family Nurse Practitioner Kathy Woods, in collaboration with Sarah Cole, DO, a Mercy Clinic family medicine physician, will see students. Medical care will be provided regardless of ability to pay, along with on-site assistance in enrolling for Medicaid.
“This is about bringing health services to the underserved which is at the core of Mercy’s mission,” said Dr. Bergamini.
In 2011, Mercy made a five-year commitment and invested nearly $7 million in HealthTeacher, an online tool for teachers to incorporate education of health issues into lesson plans. The program, aligned with the National Health Education Standards, focuses on health, nutrition, mental health and injury prevention, as well as on the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and drug use, bullying and obesity.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, nearly 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated phyicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Mercy Clinic is a physician-governed group of more than 1,700 medical providers with access to Mercy’s facilities, electronic health records, telemedicine and each other, Mercy Clinic providers can give their patients the best care available, regardless of the patient’s location. Patients of Mercy Clinic providers can connect to their own health records and health teams anywhere they connect to the Internet.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 61,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.