On the heels of an especially hard hitting flu season, students and staff at Fox Elementary have a secret weapon in the school’s newest full-service clinic.
Clinicians from MercyMed of Columbus visit three times a week and provide everything from throat swabs to prescriptions just feet from the school’s front doors. Organizers say they hope to eliminate barriers – such as finances, transportation, or timing – that might block a parent from getting their child the care they need.
“We’re actually right down the street and we see a lot of Fox Elementary students as our patients,” says MercyMed clinician Meghan Brooks. “We were seeing that kids were missing school for things that could be treated simply if we were able to see them in the school where they already are. So now, there’s no need for transportation, they’re already here, we use the pharmacy that’s just down the street, and get them treated and back to class a lot sooner.”
She adds the clinic hasn’t just treated flu cases since opening in November.
“We’ve had a few with Strep, some cold and fevers. I mean even lice, we treat as much as we can, so the kids don’t have to spend days or weeks at a time home unwell.”
Fox Elementary Principal Dr. Yvette Scarborough says adding the clinic has been a rewarding experience.
“It’s almost like unreal at times, and I’m like really? Is this really happening at my school? Because other principal friends don’t have this, and they want this because they know it helps kids,” Dr. Scarborough says.
The clinic and its physicians are also a major lifesaver for staff.
“I’d called my doctor and couldn’t be seen till the end of the week, we just couldn’t find a time for me to go,” says Pre-K teacher Wynn Alford. “Then I all of a sudden remembered [the clinic] was here on Monday mornings, stuck my head in, she was able to see me, and within five minutes I was back in the classroom.”
“I’m glad we can provide this for staff too, because instead of taking three or four hours off to go wait at an urgent care with a cough they might have caught from the kids, they can come in here and get treated and go right back to work if they’re able to,” says Dr. Scarborough.
She adds since the Fox Elementary clinic is the first of its kind in Columbus, how well the program does could determine if more MercyMed physicians will open their doors in other local schools.
“If this works well and has a good return on investment and is beneficial to improving attendance and eventually improving students achievement scores, then this may be a model for other schools so they can have a clinic within their school too,” Dr. Scarborough says.
MercyMed of Columbus is a faith based outreach program that aims to provide affordable health care to those in need. Donations from Fox Elementary School partners and donations to MercyMed help keep the clinic examinations free.
If you would like to donate to the Fox Elementary School MercyMed Clinic, click here to visit MercyMed of Columbus online and select “MercyMed @ Fox”.