Already used to technology in the classroom, a program to provide access to virtual healthcare for local students suffering from minor health conditions is already in the works.
Virtual health visits are now available at each of the high schools in the Floyd County school system as well as at Main Elementary, Rome Middle School and West End Elementary in Rome City Schools. Atrium Health Floyd also provides virtual services to Van Wert Elementary and Cherokee Elementary schools in Polk County and to Darlington School.
Atrium also operates a full-service primary care clinic at the College and Career Academy on the Rome High School campus.
Virtual visits allow students, teachers and staff to interact with healthcare providers from their schools to receive treatment for a number of minor ailments, including allergies, asthma, minor colds and coughs, fever, flu symptoms and urinary tract infections.
“The goal is for all of Atrium Health Floyd’s school partners to have a virtual clinic within the next five years,” said Chris Butler, director of corporate health at Atrium Health Floyd. “We know how important it is for students and teachers not to miss valuable class time. That is why these virtual clinics are being implemented as part of our partnership with local school systems.”
Most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare, cover virtual care. Depending on insurance coverage, patients or patient families may be responsible for copays and deductibles for these services. Financial assistance may be available for families who do not have insurance coverage.
“We really appreciate this partnership with Atrium Health Floyd,” said Floyd County Schools Superintendent Glenn White. “From the school nurses to the athletic trainers at our high schools, virtual care has really made a difference.”
Students and staff can typically make a virtual care visit through the school nurse. A parent or guardian can also send a note or contact the school requesting a visit in advance for a minor with noncontagious conditions.
“This can cut down on lost class time for students and teachers,” Rome City Schools Superintendent Eric Holland said. “They still might have to leave class for the appointments, but students and teachers can make plans to do that when it is least disruptive.”
The parent or guardian will be invited to join the virtual care visit by video or phone, and appointments are held in a private, secure space at school. During the visit, the virtual provider will assess the patient over video with the help of the school nurse.
“We understand that parents want to be involved in the care of their kids while they are away from home,” Butler said. “The process we have ensures that parents will know what is going on.”
The provider can diagnose the patient’s condition and offer a treatment plan. If needed, the provider can send prescriptions to a preferred pharmacy. With permission, visit notes will be sent to the patient’s primary care physician.
If the patient’s condition is minor and noncontagious, the student can return to their day without leaving school or work.