Danville Schools finalizing in-school clinic plan with Danville Pediatrics

Published 11:23 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Danville Board of Education is expected to finalize an agreement Monday with Danville Pediatrics to provide in-school clinic services at no cost to the school district. And the clinic solution comes along with what Superintendent Tammy McDonald called an “amazing” plan for the school district to house a permanent dental exam room, which would be staffed by local dentists.

Ben Kleppinger/ben.kleppinger@amnews.com
Danville Superintendent Tammy McDonald announced the school district would pursue an agreement with Danville Pediatrics to provide in-school health clinic services during Tuesday’s school board meeting.

McDonald announced Tuesday night that the school district had negotiated changes to Danville Pediatrics original proposal that satisfied the district’s desire to make available in-school medical services and immunizations, among other things.

Another organization, the Healthy Kids Clinic run by Cumberland Family Medical Center withdrew its offer to provide in-school clinics once it learned a local option that fully met what the district was looking for was available, McDonald said. Cumberland, which operates clinics in 13 school districts, also offered to help Danville Pediatrics with any questions it may have as it enters into the business of running an in-school clinic program, McDonald said. And Cumberland has also offered to provide Danville Pediatrics with all of the medical forms it uses.

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“They don’t have to reinvent the wheel; they can take those forms and tweak them to meet the needs of Danville Schools,” McDonald said. “It’s pretty exciting. Not only did staff at the central office … work with all of them … we also have Cumberland stepping up and saying, ‘We want at the end of the day what’s best for students, so we’re going to help you make this work because now you have two equal proposals on the table.’ So it’s just a win-win for everybody in the community.”

The board attorney is still looking over a proposed contract with Danville Pediatrics, which is expected to be presented to the board again at its regular meeting Monday night. If it passes, McDonald said some of the things it will mean for families in the school district will be:

  • students at school while school is in session can be seen by medical professionals for free without leaving school;
  • students will be able to get immunizations, well child checks and more at the schools;
  • students in the school district will receive a medical card they can use to visit Danville Pediatrics outside of school for $10.

McDonald said another new piece of the agreement benefits teachers: Ephraim McDowell Health, which is partnering with Danville Pediatrics on the proposal, would reserve some spaces at medical offices during school days, so that teachers who need to be seen by a doctor could leave school, be “bumped up” in line and seen quickly, then return to school right away.

Other highlights of the proposal previously announced include:

  • Danville Pediatrics and Ephraim McDowell would hire a nurse coordinator and a licensed practical nurse (LPN), rounding out the number of school nurses in the district to four;
  • Danville Pediatrics would “send a medical provider to the Danville Schools each day to see sick children;”
  • Ephraim McDowell would provide a licensed clinical social worker to provide mental health care for students on a full-time basis; and
  • Webster Orthodontics would offer “a percentage of children in need of orthodontics care each year without insurance … free braces” and free orthodontic care associated with braces.

McDonald said Jeff Johnson with Danville Pediatric Dentistry is organizing the dental care portion of the arrangement, and what has been planned could be “very unique not only across our state but across the nation.”

A classroom in the former American National University building — which the school district acquired this year and will be turning into its alternative school and new central office over the summer — will be turned into a permanent dental office. That will allow students to not only receive cleanings and screenings, but even emergency dental work — with consent of their parents, she explained.

McDonald “found us this amazing space in your new central office building,” Johnson told board members Tuesday night. “What we’re going to be able to do is provide kids a level of care they can’t get either on a mobile dental unit or (from) a group that comes in just twice a year for routine cleanings.”

Ben Kleppinger/ben.kleppinger@amnews.com
Danville school board Chair Steve Becker said he was excited about a plan to offer in-school health clinic and dental services during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

Johnson said local dentists are excited about the plan and lining up to help staff the office.

“We’re excited about this. This is something that’s unique to Danville and I think it could really be a model for not just our state, but across the country,” Johnson said. “… I think this is going to be just fantastic.”

“I’m just so excited about both things,” board member Lori Finke said. “I think that’s what’s Danville — community and schools coming together to support each other.”

School board Chair Steve Becker said he’s excited, too.

“Good things sometimes take a while,” he said. “For partners to figure out how they want to operate — it’s like marriage. Lord, it changes every day. … It’s going to be a great thing and it will be a great model for the Danville Schools.”