KWTX: New partnership opens telehealth opportunities for Central Texas school district

Photo: McGregor ISD is partnering with Goodside Health to offer telehealth services to students. (Courtesy of KWTX)

by Hannah Hall from KWTX

 

Click here for the original story on KWTX

McGREGOR, Texas (KWTX) — If you’re a parent, you probably know how hard it can be when you get a call saying your child is sick at school, but you’re stuck at work. McGregor ISD hopes a new partnership with Goodside Health will be a solution for families.

Now, when kids get sick, they’re able to go to the school nurse for a telehealth visit, and can even be tested for illnesses like flu, strep and even COVID-19.

Lauren Westerfield, a school nurse with McGregor ISD, said the process is simple. Students come into the nurse’s office, and if they’re enrolled in the program, Westerfield can set up a virtual doctor’s visit.

The parent is able to join the visit remotely, whether that’s from work or from their home. Depending on the student’s symptoms, they can be tested. If the tests come back negative, and they’re able to stay in school, Westerfield can give over-the-counter treatments to help them feel better, like Tylenol or nausea medication.

Westerfield said is a great option, because sometimes kids just don’t feel great, and it doesn’t mean they need to go home. However, before the program, she couldn’t offer them any medicine unless it was brought from home by a parent or guardian.

Westerfield said the cost of the program is another benefit.

“What we’re seeing with our families that don’t have insurance, it’s usually not more than 50 bucks, and includes everything including the testing so it saves our families quite a bit of money.”

Westerfield said she’s also hearing that if a prescription is needed, families are finding those to be affordable without insurance as well. She said that’s important, because many of those kids probably wouldn’t be seen by a doctor without this partnership.

“Those are the kids that usually wouldn’t get taken to the doctor’s office because it’s too expensive,” Westerfield said. “Parents don’t have $200 to drop on an appointment, when they can do it here for 50 bucks at the most. Some of them they won’t even get a charge; it also accepts Medicaid, so most of our families won’t even have anything to pay.”

McGregor superintendent James Lenamon said the program started about midway through one of the larger COVID-19 spikes the school experienced earlier this year. Lenamon said it helped them pin down where the COVID cases were spreading and give parents some peace of mind.

“I think that’s the gut reaction right now, when you get a call from the nurse is, is this a COVID phone call,” Lenamon said. “And in a lot of cases, you’ll have parents say well, you know, he has allergies all the time. And this lets us get with a doctor and confirm that, and hopefully eliminate having to send somebody home unnecessarily.”

Parents and guardians do need to enroll their students in the program in order to participate. They can find more information here or in the weekly newsletter. The service is available at all McGregor ISD campuses, and teachers and staff are able to take advantage as well.

Goodside Health is already partnered with other school districts around the state.

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About Goodside Health

Goodside Health is advancing the delivery of pediatric care by partnering with communities to provide access to physical health, mental health, and telehealth services at school, at home, and in the clinic. Relentless advocates for expanding access to care and promoting health equity, Goodside Health leverages a Whole-Child Approach to care and lives our purpose of closing gaps in children’s healthcare through innovation and execution. To learn more about Goodside Health, please visit www.goodsidehealth.com.