MHS health clinic on track
After nearly one year of operation, Madras High School's school-based health clinic has treated hundreds of students and will soon offer some classes at the school.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Michaela Nalamliang, Mosaic Medical clinic manager Tamarra Harris, and Jefferson County Health Department Director Michael Baker gave a presentation at the Feb. 26 meeting of the School District 509-J Board of Directors.
The clinic reopened last March, after being closed for several years. Harris said operations had been revamped, more students were being seen, and the clinic was not distributing birth control items, as requested by board members when it reopened.
Over the past nine months, the school-based clinic had 501 MHS student visits, and immunized 77 patients.
The clinic is open to children ages birth to 18, and the word is spreading through the community. "We are doing more outreach, so more primary care is being done at this clinic," Harris said.
Board member Tom Norton Jr. said there were concerns about reopening a clinic, since students had appeared to be using visits to the previous clinic as a way to skip classes.
"This year, we've heard nothing about the clinic being a distraction to classes," he said.
"If we see that kind of issue, we call the kids on it!" Harris responded.
On birth control issues, Harris said the clinic does not prescribe or give out birth control items, but does offer sexually transmitted disease tests and treatment, and pregnancy tests and referrals to a doctor.
Board member Courtney Snead asked if students were asking for birth control.
"Several teenage girls have come asking about it. We referred them to public health and I applaud them for being responsible; there is a need," Harris said. "It is challenging, but the goal is to provide health care. We want to respect and support 509-J, so we will always respect the school board decision. We would rather provide care, than no care at all," she added.
Of school-based health clinics statewide, she said 52 percent do not provide birth control, and in Central Oregon, Sisters School District was the only one providing it.
The clinic gives routine physical exams and well-child care, treats acute and chronic illnesses, treats minor injuries, does vision, dental and other screenings, gives immunizations, provides mental health assessments, refers students to specialty providers, and provides classroom health presentations.
It offers walk-in and same-day appointments, and has a sliding fee scale to provide little to no-cost medical care.
Harris said they were excited to soon be having a behavioral health consultant joining the clinic staff, who will be able to immediately address student's needs, without making them wait for an appointment with an outside consultant.
Classes are also being organized. "We will be starting to do lunch and learn classes inside the school on topics like anxiety, healthy body image and mindfulness," Harris said.
Board Chairman Laurie Danzuka said, "I'm very happy to see these kind of services being offered, because there are not enough providers to handle all the need in Warm Springs and Madras."
Following an executive session, the board approved the administration's list of teacher contract renewals, nonrenewals, extensions and nonextensions (list not provided).
Under personnel, end-of-the-year resignations were accepted from Warm Springs K-8 second-grade teacher Emily Smith, and Buff Elementary behavior teacher Rebekah Bowerman. Mike Leno was hired as a part-time baseball assistant coach at MHS.
A grant of $1,300 was accepted from the Oregon Department of Education for career and technical student organizations at MHS.
The 509-J District will be hosting two "Community Engagement" nights to gather public input. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, a meeting in Warm Springs will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a meal, then meeting at 6 p.m., both at Warm Springs K-8 Academy.
The Madras meeting will be on Tuesday, March 6, with meal at 5:30 p.m., and meeting at 6 p.m. in the MHS commons.