Wednesday morning, the leaders of Community Heath Center Inc held a grand opening ceremony for a new health center inside Waterford’s Dual Language and Arts Academy.
The new health center is within a renovated nurse’s office inside the middle school, which occupies the former Southwest School building. There, students will be treated for everything from the flu and chronic conditions to depression and receive basic dental work.
The school serves mainly students from Groton, Waterford and New London. Enrollment from Groton has increased since the town closed one of its three middle schools.
“It is basically an office visit to the doctor’s office here in school,” Principal Peter DeLisa said of the new health center. “It has been such a nice asset to have.”
There will be a nurse practitioner, a counselor and a dental hygienist working in the health center within the school once a week. The idea is to serve students in the school without having to cause any inconvenience to the family, Community Health Center President Mark Masselli said.
“The closer you are to the patient population, the easier it is to give care to that population,” Masselli said.
How It Works
So far, 20 of the 100 students who attend LEARN’s Dual Language and Arts Academy have signed the paperwork to get care through the health center, DeLisa said. The goal is to have that up to almost 100 percent, he said.
Students who complain of a sickness, need therapy or even need their teeth cleaned can go to the health center inside the school and get that taken care of, according to Jane Highland, the director of school-based care for the Community Health Center. Highland said the service is far more reaching than what a school nurse could do and allows the student to get basic care without having a parent take time off of work, she said.
The nurse practitioner and therapist will come once a week, although that could change depending on the need, according to Masselli. The dental hygienist will come as the need presents itself, he said.
The care is free for students with commercial insurance, according to Masselli. Students who have HUSKY insurance or have Medicaid will have their care billed to those particular programs, he said. There is a $10 co-pay for students with commercial health insurance though for therapy sessions, he said.