Over 300 students and families at Baptist Hill Middle High School and Jerry Zucker Middle School now have medical services right on their school campuses thanks to a partnership with Fetter Health Care Network and the Charleston County School District.
A fully equipped medical truck is stationed in the school parking lot, once a week, to offer students and their families a whole host of services. From well checks to immunizations, students and families in nearby communities can receive primary care.
According to Markita Johnson, the nurse at Zucker, the benefit is that students don’t have to miss a day of school to go to the doctor. Additionally, as required by law, students must be immunized and many parents in this particular school community don’t have transportation to get to those types of services. The mobile medical unit eliminates barriers such as transportation, Johnson explained.
Fetter works with families to have services paid through Medicaid or traditional insurance. The health center also provides a sliding fee discount program for those without insurance.
“This partnership is appreciated by the families because there is no service that the mobile medical unit can’t provide,” said Johnson. “The mobile health unit is also a big boost for me because the unit is steps away from my office and I can take a sick student to them for additional support.”
Zucker Principal Jacob Perlmutter explained that the school is a Capturing Kids’ Hearts School. As part of that, the philosophy is to “serve the whole child.”
“Through research in our own school we learned that few students had a primary care doctor,” said Perlmutter. “Most of our students were being seen in clinics or emergency rooms. That’s why it was imperative to me that we find a way to bring primary care to the entire community so that not just our students could be served, but their entire family as well.
Perlmutter added that this service eliminates the need for patients to travel to the doctor, thereby removing the major barrier most patients experience to receiving timely and proper care.
Heather Rocha is a Family Practice Physician Assistant with Fetter. She said it is important to bring healthcare to the community to fill the void in any areas with a lack of services.
Perlmutter explained that even well visits to the doctor can cause a student to be out of school for the entire day. Now with the Fetter medical unit, most basic health care services can be offered onsite.
More than 70 Zucker families utilize the service.
“We’re getting great feedback from the parents,” said Perlmutter. “The feedback has been uniformly positive and in fact, families are asking for additional services.”
Dentals appointments and sports physicals will be implemented as new services in the coming weeks.
“We’re getting the word out by building relationships with families in the area and of course the school is promoting the partnership,” said Rocha. “Everyone wins because the kids are healthy and learning and the whole family is taken care of. What’s really important, too, is that a student won’t miss anything important at school because their appointment will be based around their class schedule.”
“We have to meet each child’s basic needs before we can teach him or her,” said Perlmutter. “This is how we start.”
For more information about the Fetter Health Care Network, visit www.fetterhealthcare.org. For more information about the services offered at Zucker Middle School call Jacob Perlmutter at (843) 767-8383.