SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The concept of telehealth is expanding to help more schools across the Ozarks have easier access to care.
The Bolivar School District recently decided to partner with CoxHealth to allow students and staff members to get checked out virtually and have prescriptions sent faster.
Officials said they’re hoping to reduce the number of absences students and staff receives for leaving to go see a doctor for a minor medical need.
Bolivar Schools will join more than 25 other school districts across the Ozarks that are providing this type of care.
Bolivar School District Lead Nurse, Mindy Quarles Owens, said telemedicine access will also help parents.
“Being a rural community, I think just for our parents who do work or just don’t have transportation, it’s a much easier option for our students and families,” Quarles Owens said.
CoxHealth Virtual Visits Product Manager, Tabitha Ferwalt, said they can see people for things like coughs, colds, pink eye, or strep.
“We do things that maybe they can go to their primary care for, but they can’t get in right away, or an urgent care,” Ferwalt said. “They don’t want to go into urgent care because I know with everything that’s going on with COVID and the pandemic, you don’t wanna go into the urgent care for something that’s minor.”
She said parents are invited to join the telehealth call.
“Those providers that are on the other end are going to get sometimes an even better view than they can get in a clinic because it’s zoomed in and magnified,” Ferwalt said. “They’re still able to listen to heart and lung sound.”
District parent, Justine Conley, said she is excited to see this program become implemented.
“Anytime I get a call from the school, if I’m driving there to get my kid, all I’m thinking is worst-case scenario, so the quicker we can find out what’s wrong, I think that’s great for any parent,” Conley said.
Officials with the district said they hope to get this new virtual care service up and running soon.
They said all parents have to agree to let their child participate in this care.
“For students in that district, they are able to use the school clinic with just a cost of a copay if their insurance directs them to CoxHealth,” Ferwalt said. “It’s a $25 or $35 primary care copay, and they can reach out to their insurance to see if that would be covered.”
Ferwalt said for students that are uninsured or underinsured, they work to make sure no students are turned away from care.