FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ORANGEBURG, SC—Palmetto Care Connections (PCC) and Family Health Centers, Inc. (FHC) partnered to conduct telehealth training for school nurses from Calhoun County Schools, Bamberg School District Two Schools, and the Orangeburg Calhoun Allendale Bamberg (OCAB) Community Action Agency, Inc. on Wednesday, August 14 in Orangeburg.
The training included an overview of telehealth, an introduction to school-based telehealth, videos and live demonstrations of telehealth equipment, and Family Health Center Telehealth Policies and Procedures.
"Palmetto Care Connections is pleased to partner with Family Health Centers to expand school-based telehealth in Calhoun and Bamberg County schools and OCAB Head Start programs," said PCC Chief Executive Officer Kathy Schwarting. "Helping increase access to health care and keeping health care local in the rural and underserved areas of South Carolina is what Palmetto Care Connections is all about."
"School-based telehealth has been proven to reduce absences, improve classroom behaviors, reduce Emergency Department visits and result in less missed work and reduced medical costs for parents," said Kathy Rhoad, PCC director of public relations and program development.
The types of care that can be provided through telehealth range from coughs, colds, flu and strep throat to specialty care including access to pediatric and behavioral health specialists and chronic disease management such as asthma and diabetes.
The school nurse's role includes evaluating the student and determining whether he or she can benefit from a telehealth consult, contacting the parent, connecting to Family Health Center medical providers, performing examinations using digital telehealth equipment and facilitating video conversations with between the provider, student and parent. When appropriate, the school nurse can coordinate getting prescriptions filled, delivered and administered to students.
"It all starts with the parental consent form," said Family Health Center Chief Executive Officer Leon A. Brunson, Sr. "For a student to be eligible for telemedicine services, the school must have a parental consent form on file. We are providing these forms to the schools this week to send home with each student."
"Family Health Center has served this region for fifty years and was the one of the first federally qualified health centers to be nationally accredited by The Joint Commission. Telehealth is helping FHC achieve its vision of improving the health of our community by working in partnership with patients, providers and other organizations to improve access and eliminate disparities," said Brunson.
Family Health Centers Inc. is a federally funded community health center serving the medically underserved residents of Orangeburg, Bamberg, Calhoun, and Upper Dorchester counties in S.C. The organization has grown from one health center located on Magnolia Street in Orangeburg, to six additional comprehensive primary care sites in Bamberg, Neeses, Denmark, St. George, Vance, and St. Matthews. Services offered include: Adult Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Podiatry, Dental, Health Education, X-Ray, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Migrant Farm Worker Program and Behavioral/Social Health. FHC's fully equipped medical mobile units provide optometry and dental services throughout the region.
Established in 2010, PCC is a non-profit organization that provides technology, broadband, and telehealth support services to health care providers in rural and underserved areas in S.C. PCC is the leader of the Palmetto State Providers Network, a broadband consortium which facilitates broadband connections throughout the state.