Telehealth pilot program to begin at four schools

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Brooksville - The Hernando County School District, in partnership with Goodside Health, will kick off a limited telehealth pilot program this month at four district schools: Moton Elementary, Eastside Elementary, Explorer K8 and D.S. Parrott Middle School. The program, called SchoolMed, will allow students to schedule a virtual visit with a doctor or nurse practitioner to evaluate, diagnose and provide treatment for common ailments in the convenient setting of school. This is an optional program to families and will be offered at no cost to thedistrict.

Pediatric Urgent Care, a Texas-based company, launched Goodside Health in 2018, and is currently provided at 70 Texas school districts, as well as two school districts in Florida (Broward and Pensacola). The goal of the program is to provide access to health care to underserved students who do not have the opportunity to be seen by a doctor.

"We want to initiate a pilot at these four schools and monitor its effectiveness for the rest of the school year. Afterwards, we can make determinations about full implementation for the next school year," said Lisa Cropley, Executive Director of Student Services.

Goodside Health will provide a local engagement coordinator to train, offer support and work directly with school nurses. Students enrolled in the program will be able to go to the school nurse to schedule a visit with a doctor (via digital tablet) for ailments such as the common cold, sore throat, skin rashes, headache, pink eye or flu. Goodside Health will also provide on site, no-cost school and sports physicals. Dates for physicals will be determined later in the school year.

Schools will also receive on-site, rapid strep tests, as well as over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, allergy medications and other necessary medical supplies to deliver care to students, at no cost to the school. Before any visit with a telehealth doctor, permission will be required by the student's parent or guardian. Parents will receive a link to participate in the virtual visit.

Fees are billed to the student's health insurance company and families will be liable for any copays set by their own insurance. For those who do not have insurance, program membership is available, with fees determined on a sliding scale based on household income.