CoxHealth partners with Branson schools to bring virtual care to students, staff

Local News

BRANSON, Mo. – Branson students, as well as school employees and their dependents, will soon be able to see a provider for a variety of health care needs without leaving campus. CoxHealth is partnering with the district to open two virtual clinics for care, one on the Cedar Ridge campus and another at Buchanan.

Dr. Chip Arnette, the director of operations for Branson Public Schools, said he was thankful for the district’s partnership with CoxHealth. He hopes having professional medial diagnoses available at school will help students stay in the classroom.

“The expansion of telemedicine in our school district will serve our students better,” said Dr. Arnette. “It will serve all our employees better. It’ll serve our community better because people are able to stay at work and communicate with the school, with our nurse, with the tele-med nurse and the technician so that they can determine what they need to do with their child. A lot of times they don’t have to go to the doctor. A lot of times it’s something that can be taken care of and this allows us to have that communication which sometimes will allow us to keep kids in school and staff members in school.”

During the visits, participants will meet with a licensed physician or nurse practitioner using state-of-the art video conferencing equipment at school. During student appointments, parents can also join the conference using their phone. Examples of conditions that can be treated through virtual visits include, but are not limited to:

  • Bug bites
  • Congestion
  • Ear infection
  • Pink eye
  • Minor injuries
  • Rash
  • Sinus infection
  • Stomach flu
  • Strep throat

Provider visits will be billed to insurance, but Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at CoxHealth will help cover the costs of visits for uninsured children. Branson schools will pay for visits for employees and their dependents, a benefit officials say will be a huge convenience for the entire district.

Bridget O’Hara is the director of virtual visits for CoxHealth. She said this program is used in 25 other school districts. O’Hara said these virtual clinics allow parents to be with their child during the diagnoses.

“Both the provider, and anybody else who’s joined onto the visit- the parent and child can actually see their inner ear on screen nice and big,” said O’Hara. “So you can actually see what an ear infection looks like.”

The virtual clinics will open as soon as clinic staff is in place. CoxHealth is currently hiring two Virtual Clinic Navigators who will facilitate the connection between patient, parent and providers and operate the equipment needed for virtual care. The navigators will also serve as a liaison between CoxHealth and the school district. Full job descriptions and applications can be found here and here.

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