‘Beautiful’ partnership benefits children in Moffat County Schools | CraigDailyPress.com

‘Beautiful’ partnership benefits children in Moffat County Schools

Dominic Arquette has his hearing checked by Moffat County School District Nurse Myranda Lyons at the Early Childhood Education Health Fair. Lyons is part of the Memorial Regional Health team that provides services to children at all Moffat County School District schools.

A partnership to provide health services to children in Craig has been renewed and expanded.

After the resignation of their school nurse, in the fall of 2016, the school district contracted health services through Memorial Regional Health.
MRH has the low bid for contracted services. The cost was within the existing school district budget.

Before the start of the school year the partnership between Memorial Regional Health and Moffat County was renewed and expanded.

"The relationship is beautiful… so seamless and smooth," said MRH Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer Amy Peck.

She oversees the registered nurse and a team of health techs employed by MRH to work in Craig schools.

Since the first contract was signed, Memorial Regional Health staff:
• Worked with all providers in the valley and specialists in Denver and Grand Junction to provide services to children.
• Developed a resource in each school for annual state audits and surveys.
• Educated school teachers and staff on how to handle standard emergencies, and the top four emergencies, that occur in schools.
• Provided health information and participated in special plans for students needing additional support.
• Delivered health education to parents and school staff to help them in provide the best health care to children through regular newsletters.
• Helped parents and guardians connect with organizations, like the Lions Club eye program, to help meet the health care need of children.
• Provided sports physicals for high school and middle school children.
• Held a health fair for school district employees.
• Provided registered nurses and doctors for a variety of classes and lectures.
• Began work to standardize the immunization process.

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In the spring, school district employees were anonymously surveyed to help evaluate the program.

One person wrote, "health services have been much improved since Moffat County School District entered into a contract (with MRH)."

The first contract spread five health techs across six buildings. Of the people responding to the survey, almost all, felt there needed to be a health tech in each building. For example, one respondent wrote, "worried about lawsuits from parents without a tech in each building."

This year the program was awarded an additional $8,000, a total of $180,000, to continue services and to place a health tech in every school.

Health techs are part-time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at two of the elementary schools and full-time in the other four Craig schools.

"We have some students with higher medical needs in some of the elementary schools and others are healthier, so we have strategically placed the full time health techs in schools with higher needs and utilization," Peck said.

Over the summer the MRH health services team underwent a variety of additional training. One of the training programs focused on mental health and should help them to better identify mental health problems.

"Mental health has always been a problem," Peck said. "We are getting to a place where it is more accepted that it is a disease process. It's something that the schools struggle with, our hospital struggles with, our community struggles with and our nation struggles with, so yes it is one of the issues we deal with."

Having health techs in each school allows them to build relationships, monitor trends and patterns with students, something Peck believes will help the team use their training to continue to improve the mental health side of their services.

Working on the inside of the schools has given Peck a new appreciation for educators.

"Seeing these teachers, their compassion, and how much they stress over their students is an amazing thing," she said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

By the numbers

Health provided to the school district by Memorial Regional Health will cost $188,000 for the 2017-18 school year.
One registered nurse supervises six health techs.
Health techs provide full time care in four of six Craig schools or part-time care in the remaining two schools in Craig.

In 2016 Memorial Regional Health recorded the following number of students visits to a nurse or health tech:
• East Elementary School — 1,402
• Sunset Elementary School —1,644
• Ridgeview Elementary School — 1,748
• Sandrock Elementary School — 2,800
• Craig Middle School — 2,432
• Moffat County High School — 2,078