In recent years, virtual health care has become more and more popular. This school year, for the first time, Chillicothe R-II parents will have the option of allowing their children to be treated by a doctor virtually during school hours.
“This program makes it more convenient for both parents/guardians and students,” Dr. Dan Wiebers explained. He added that with a parent’s or guardian’s consent, and with assistance from a nurse from Hedrick Family Care, along with the school nurse, students can be evaluated by a doctor and possibly return to class without needing to miss school to visit a doctor’s office or urgent care.
He added that the utilization of this program will not change school protocol when it comes to sending sick kids home. “Our policies relating to sending children home with fever and vomiting has not, and will not change,” Dr. Wiebers explained. He added, “What is different with this program, is that children exhibiting symptoms that parents are concerned about may receive treatment faster as long as the parent consents.”
Conditions and illnesses that may be treated through these In-School Video Visits range from allergies and asthma to influenza, sunburns, ear infection and skin rashes. In-School Video Visits will not include regular check-ups or physicals. “Overall, we are hoping to reduce student absences and give students access to health care in a more timely manner with parental consent,” Dr. Wiebers said.
The program is being offered by Hedrick Medical Center and Hedrick Family Care with donated equipment provided by Saint Luke’s Health System. The tele-med equipment allows the physician treating the students to see everything the nurse sees through high tech equipment hooked up to a laptop.
Before each virtual visit, the school nurse will contact parents to obtain consent to treat. Parents who allow their children to be seen virtually will also be able to log-on to the virtual visit from their smartphone, laptop, etc., to sit in while the doctor evaluates their child. The parent or guardian is also welcome to attend the visit in-person at the school.
“This program will be very helpful to parents who may not be able to take time off from work and allows the child to be seen in a more timely manner as well,” Wiebers said. He added that instead of sitting in a waiting room for a long period of time waiting to be seen, children will be able to see a doctor within 15 to 20 minutes after the school nurse receives parental consent.”
The insurance companies of the students or Medicaid will be billed for the visits, program organizers say. Dr. Wiebers noted that the District did not seek bids for the program because this is not a district-funded service. He emphasized that parents have the ultimate choice whether their students will be treated through the program.
More information about this new program can also be found at the following link: www.saintlukeskc.org/hedrickinschool