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Student School-Based Health Clinic Set To Open In July

Zufall’s Frances Palm describes the health clinic that is planned for Hillcrest Elementary School.

The student health clinic that is a partnership between the school district and Zufall Health Services is set to start operations on July 14 at Hillcrest Elementary School.

Frances Palm, Zufall’s COO, stopped by the June 16 Board of Education meeting to give the Board and public a preview of what will be offered in the near- and long-terms.

In the beginning, the services will be offered in Zufall’s mobile clinic, she said. The clinic will roll up to Hillcrest School from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays, at least for the summer.

Palm said operating hours for the school year have not yet been determined.

“Will be working with the school district to make sure that we are available at hours and times that make the most sense,” she said.

Initially, she said, only students will be seen, and mainly only for wellness exams, school physicals and immunizations, “because we have limited capacity, and we want to make sure that gets done.”

“We hope to be able to add dental here in Franklin, probably at first on a mobile basis,” she said.

While school children will be the initial priority, Palm said, “we hope to have the capacity to expand to their families, mom, dad, grandma as well. But right now, for the summer, it’s going to be limited to the students.”

Payment for services will be on a sliding scale, based on family income, she said.

“We do not deny care for someone who cannot afford it, but we do ask for evidence,” Palm said.

The permanent clinic will be housed in one of the modular classroom buildings located at Hillcrest. Palm said the organization is looking for more money to pay for necessary renovation.

Palm said it makes sense to establish health clinics at schools.

“If you’re sick, you can’t focus on the other things you need to do, and the family can’t focus on bringing income into the family if they’re focused on illness as well,” she said.

“Those that don’t have access to health care miss a lot of school and families miss work,” she said. “Bringing the services closer to where the kids are is beneficial for the families, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

“It’s good that we’re going to be starting it in the capacity that we can,” school board president Nancy LaCorte said.

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