Bell County Schools will have a new health service provider for the six district school health clinics this year.
In a special-called meeting Tuesday, the Bell County Board of Education chose Family Health Care to provide health services at no cost to the district.
“It’s saving our district an enormous amount of money,” said Bell Superintendent Yvonne Gilliam.
In previous years, the district used the Bell County Health Department for the clinics. Gilliam said the board began searching for a new provider when the health department raised the amount they were charging from $63,000 to $90,000. The health department did eventually lower the price back down to $63,000, according to Gilliam.
“We received good services from the health department, but $90,000, which was eventually lowered to $63,000, is still a sizable amount for a school district to have to come up with when the same or possibly more expanded services can be offered free,” said Gilliam.
Gilliam said the board explored several options and went back and forth with the health department by means of several meetings with their administrators.
“We were just not able to put together a plan anywhere comparable to what we were able to obtain through Family Health Care,” said Gilliam.
A registered nurse will be staffed full-time in each clinic and all students and staff will be treated at no charge. A nurse practitioner will oversee services and the school district health coordinator will monitor all sites.
“They (registered nurses) will be there all day every day the students are in session,” said Gilliam.
Gilliam said she has asked Family Health Care to give priority consideration to laid off nurses who served in the district last year through the health department.
Family Health Care will be in the district Thursday to do an assessment of each clinic. Gilliam said the health department pulled out all of their equipment, so Family Health Care is having to bring equipment in out of their warehouses. She said it will be around the first or middle of next week before all the clinics will be operational.
“I’m just thrilled to death to have this opportunity,” said Gilliam. “I would have loved to have continued our relationship with the health department, but this is a better move financially and in terms of service delivery for our students.”
Anthony Cloud can be reached at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN.