For years, the school nurse's office was where students went for care, compassion, and help. A nurse would assess the student and either call a parent or send the child back to class. Sometimes, the healthcare problem persisted. And in some cases, the student faced a mental-health issue. Either way, the problem was beyond the scope of the nurse's office.
In a COVID-19 world, meeting a student's urgent healthcare and mental-health needs is more critical than ever. Public schools have responded to the changing needs of children, adolescents, and teenagers by establishing tele-health and tele-behavioral health services.
Combining these two services is a new and essential way to reimagine healthcare delivery to meet public school students' immediate healthcare challenges. The goal is two-fold: using technology to meet students' needs and creating a collaborative approach that acknowledges the school as part of the student's larger family.
The tele-health platform is also a community resource. It combines multiple moving parts -- schools, parents, healthcare, mental health services and the community -- into a single, dynamic solution.
Recently, the EMC Health Foundation was joined by Hazel Health, the premier public-school tele-health and tele-behavioral health provider, in offering this combined platform to Denair and Hughson Unified School Districts.
As a healthcare foundation, our goal is to demonstrate that by reinvesting in public school students' physical and mental health, we can help children stay in front of the teacher to learn. Moreover, the EMC Health Foundation/Hazel Health collaboration helps bring all community investments together to focus on students' needs. Ours is an enterprise-wide approach to tele-health, quality services and excellence in education.
We recognize that the pandemic has affected many students’ mental health, often placing a wedge between struggling students and their ability to access help. The goal of EMC Health Foundation/Hazel Health is to close the holes in the safety net that assure good physical and mental health services for children.
Every challenge is an opportunity to change the status quo and help rescue a child. The need is great and the time for change is now.
— Jeffrey Lewis is the President and CEO of the EMC Health Foundation. The views expressed here are his own.