MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – Starting in October, students at six schools across Manatee County will have access to telehealth services through a district partnership with MCR Health.
Manatee County School District officials hope to have the program up and running the week of Oct. 5 at five Title I elementary schools and one middle school:
- Bayshore Elementary
- Blackburn Elementary
- Oneco Elementary
- Prine Elementary
- Rogers Garden-Bullock Elementary
- Lee Middle School
“If a student goes to the clinic and they are not feeling well and they need to see a doctor, it will allow the nurse to connect with the doctor through MCR Health through the telehealth connection and they can talk with the doctor over the internet,” Manatee County Director of ESE Nicole Cox said. “If they need to check their throat, the nurse can do that and then the doctor will be seeing the same image from their end so they can prescribe medications if needed.”
Parents will need to sign a consent form for their children to get the Telehealth services.
“The expectation and the hope is that if a student goes to the clinic and they are speaking with the doctor that the parent can also be participating from home, work or wherever they are so that they can be dialed in and watching as their child is being examined through the telehealth program,” district spokesman Mike Barber said.
The district hopes to bring access to medical care to students who need it most.
“It is truly vital because the vast majority of the students really don’t have good healthcare that is consistent. Students need to be healthy to be in school,” said Cox. “Many of our students come to school – especially in a Title I school – because, for example, that may be where their consistent food source is coming from. Even when they don’t feel well, they still come to school but they are not getting medical care. So this will allow us to help take care of those students, keep them in school, keep them healthy and learning so that they can graduate and break that cycle.”
Telehealth services will be covered under Medicaid and private insurance. If the student doesn’t have either, the cost of care will work on a sliding scale.
The hope is for the program to expand to other district schools.
“We are starting with these six. We really want to see how it goes, work out any kinks or any problems that we have, but if it goes well and everything is working then yes, our hope that it will be more broad across the district for other students as well, especially other Title I schools,” said Cox.
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