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LOCAL SCHOOL BASED HEALTH CENTERS CELEBRATED OCTOBER AS NATIONAL SBHC AWARENESS MONTH

 Western Maine Health Vice President of Clinical Service, M. Patricia Cook, RN, MBA, Ed.D., announced that the School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) at Oxford Hills Middle and High School have participated in the celebration of National School Based Health Center Awareness month during October.

It has been ten years since Stephens Memorial Hospital joined forces with SAD #17 to begin providing high-quality health services in the schools at School Based Health Centers, augmenting the school nurses services.  Cathy Roland, MSN, a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, provides care for students 20 hours a week at the Oxford Hills Middle School and 20 hours a week at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.  Jeffrey Peterson, M.D. from Western Maine Pediatrics is the program's Medical Advisor.

The SBHC provides care for students while keeping them in school and learning.  As a result of the SBHC ER visits are reduced as is absenteeism and the burden on parents to miss work to seek care for children.  Services provided include not only diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illness but also chronic illness management for diseases such as diabetes and asthma.  The SBHC provides routine physical exams and immunizations, prescriptions and laboratory testing. 

The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner communicates with the student's primary care physician and parents.  In addition the SBHC collaborates with the school nurses, oral health professionals, dieticians, counselors, local health agencies, faculty, and community boards.

Currently 50% of the students at both middle and high school are enrolled in the SBHC.  Five years ago the rate was 6% at the high school and 15% at the middle school.  The SBHC is not a medical 'home' for students, but acts in conjunction with their PCP.  In the state of Maine, 86% of students have their own PCP.  At the Oxford Hills SBHCs 95% of students have a PCP.  We are all working together to improve the health of our youth in the Oxford Hills.

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