Bester Elementary School currently has one of the lowest attendance rates in Washington County for elementary schools as well as one of the highest rates for chronic health conditions. There is evidence that demonstrates a strong correlation between poor attendance and access to health services as well as subsequent lower comprehensive academic outcomes. Given these realities being experienced by the students and families of Bester Elementary School, San Mar Children's Home (San Mar) will solidify a partnership with multiple organizations to offer a no cost, school-based health center. The Bester Community of Hope; an initiative of San Mar will oversee the school-based health center named Bester Health Center. The program will be located within the elementary school, with the goal of reducing barriers, improving convenience, and increasing accessibility for disadvantaged families.
Goals and Objectives:
Goal 1: Improve Access to Quality Health Care and Services. Objective 1.1: Increase the capacity and strength of the health care safety net by expanding health care access to expand the availability of services to the disadvantaged by increasing enrollment in and utilization of health insurance through school-based services as a gateway to network health resources to 95%. Objective 1.2: Targeted effort in maintaining insurance for the Elementary school population three percentage points each year during the five-year grant period. Objective 1.3: On-going enrollment efforts to identify coverage needs for families of Bester students and efforts to maintain 95% coverage. Goal 2: Build Healthy Communities Objective 2.1: Improve health of the population through utilization of community partnerships. Develop and support partnerships with stakeholders in the health and non-health sectors to link people to services and resources that improve population health by organizing three school-based health events per year. Objective 2.2: Engage with communities and stakeholders to develop, plan, and coordinate public health initiatives that span the prevention and care continuum by engaging in one planning session per quarter with a stakeholder. Objective 2.3: Support the integration and coordination of public health with primary care, including behavioral and oral health services, to improve individual outcomes and overall population health. Objective 2.4: Strengthen the focus on health promotion and disease prevention across populations, providers, and communities by holding one community-based health education session each quarter to inform and educate vulnerable populations about health promotion, disease prevention, and health behaviors that improve individual and population health, and about HRSA's programs that contribute to population health improvement. Goal 3: Improve Health Equity Objective 3.1: Reduce disparities in access and quality of care, and improve health outcomes across populations and communities by focusing resources and services on diseases and conditions with the greatest health disparities and promote outreach efforts to reach Bester families. Objective 3.2: Pursue at least two evidence-based and promising practices that have the potential to reduce health disparities at Bester Elementary.
Before the 2016-2017 academic year at Bester Elementary School, the only health resource available to students was the traditional school nurse. Phase One of this program will focus on the co-location of health resources from the Community Free Clinic at Bester Elementary School, to provide acute diagnostic care. Phase Two will focus on utilizing funds to create a new sustainable system of care at the school to address targeted health needs. The new school-based community free clinic will give additional resources after the existing school nurse, employed by Meritus Health, has triaged care. This program is completely free-of-charge to students, their families, and to Bester Elementary School. The goal of providing medical care immediately to Bester students is to ameliorate the attendance issues related to health/sickness as well as remove any barriers to adequate health care. In turn, this program will reduce the utilization of emergency rooms as the first responder to health needs, which will greatly benefit Meritus Health.
San Mar will partner with Bester Elementary School, Meritus Health, and the Community Free Clinic to provide services in the school-based health center.
San Mar will track number of students seen and their diagnoses, treatment, and referrals in electronic student health records. The project will track attendance at school-based health events and community health education events. Advisory board meetings, planning meetings and stakeholder meetings will be tracked. Two surveys will be administered to parents and families to track access to care, quality of care, and reduction in health care disparities. Results of surveys will be shared with staff and stakeholders for planning and dissemination purposes.