Community Health Center will receive $494,000 and La Clinica Del Valle will receive $456,890, according to an announcement by Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. The two agencies are included in an award by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of over $4 million to 12 school-based health centers across Oregon.“Early, accessible and targeted investments in the well-being of Oregon’s children set the cornerstone for a path of lifelong health,” said Wyden. “Expanding preventative health care in schools means healthier kids and less hassle for working parents and big savings for Oregon families.”Community Health Center, Waterfall Community Health Center (North Bend) and South River Community Health Center (Winston) are recipients of the federal grant to create live tele-medicine communication with students living in rural areas. Community Health Center will use their portion of the grant to bring access to medical care to Butte Falls, Prospect and eventually Shady Cove and Trail through video conferencing with medical providers and nurses at the Center’s White City clinic and with the School-based Health Center at Eagle Point High School. It can also be used to connect with physicians at Oregon Health Sciences University, for example, or anywhere accepting tele-med technology.
The grant is part of a collaborative project among eight rural school districts, 5,100 square miles, in Jackson, Coos and Douglas counties. Grant funds will be used to purchase six mobile video conferencing units to be deployed in the project service.
“This equipment grant is phenomenal,” said CHC executive director and project director Peg Crowley. Mobile practitioner video conferencing carts will be purchased and deployed in tandem with mobile satellite technology to provide tele-medicine and tele-psychology services at school-based health centers when a medical provider is not on site, with capabilities that will assure communication connections even when broadband services are not accessible, either because it does not exist or has been rendered disabled due to extreme weather conditions.
Through the same federal grant release, La Clinica received $456,890 to purchase a 40-foot RV mobile health center to travel to areas of need to provide medical, dental and mental health care. Staff will provide care at eight schools during the school year and provide services from other sites when schools are closed.
Community Health Center is working with school officials now in Prospect and Butte Falls to establish school-based health centers (SBHCs) to open during this next school year. When children have a medical need, they will be able to be seen at the SBHC and return to the classroom. “Keeping kids healthy and in the classroom where they can learn is certainly one of our goals, “says Crowley. “We know that many families in the Upper Rogue region are challenged by low incomes and the inability to drive long distances to seek health care. This system will eventually be available to the general Upper Rogue Community to create access to health care right where people live,” says Crowley. Currently, no primary health care services exist in Butte Falls and Prospect.