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Members to consider ER program

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A proposal that would virtually bring an emergency room staff into three Richmond County schools will be among the issues before school board members in today's committee meetings.

The idea is to start a pilot program between the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth and three Richmond County schools that have a large population of students with medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes. Using televisions, a computer and cameras, the program would electronically link the schools to the pediatric emergency room staff at Medical College of Georgia, allowing trained school staff to conference with an MCG nurse or physician in assessing a student's condition. The schools have not been determined.

Paula Guy, executive director of the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth, said the teleconferencing model has been implemented in several other school systems, including some in Texas, Ohio and California. A program in Richmond County would be the first in Georgia.

"We're really excited about it," Ms. Guy said, adding that teleconferencing can help schools with tight budgets by providing access to medical professionals when there might be a shortage of school nurses. Richmond County has 30 school nurses, some of whom rotate between two schools.

Ms. Guy said trained school staff, not necessarily nurses, can operate the Telehealth equipment. In a letter to school officials, Ms. Guy said that her group could obtain the needed equipment for two schools if the school system could purchase what's necessary for a third school. The letter says that Ms. Guy's group could purchase equipment for about $15,000 but didn't say what the school system's share might be. The school system would be offered a reduced $375 monthly cost for the teleconferencing service.

In other committee action, the school board also will again address a proposal aimed at banning some personal appliances in schools. The idea is part of an ongoing effort to reduce the school system's energy costs.

The policy would ban refrigerators, space heaters, microwave ovens, coffee makers, lamps or decorative lights (allowed in offices only) or any other personal electrical appliances that aren't property of the Richmond County School System or aren't needed for work or instructional purposes.

The committee meetings start at 4 p.m. at the board's main office at 864 Broad St.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

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Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 12/08/09 - 04:52 am
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Oh, okay...make sure you read

Oh, okay...make sure you read the part about who "can" operate the equipment. They really should change that to who WILL be operating the equipment, and that would be any available staff member...not a trained nurse. Ask yourself, who would you rather be there to help treat your child in need...a trained and experienced nurse, or the school secretary, housekeeper, or lunchroom lady? This is not a slam on those people, it is just not their job to do those sort of things. When a health crises arises, things can go south VERY quickly and you need someone there who knows what to do and how to do it. But, then again, I guess it's better than what they've got going now, which isn't much. But you watch, after this is in place, they'll be phasing out the nurses, and then they'll be complaining about the $375 a month they'll have to pay for the program!

WMartin
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WMartin 12/08/09 - 08:30 am
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Medical decisions in schools

Medical decisions in schools by school nurses has never been a good idea. School nurses are generally LPNs, poorly trained, and not prepared to handle any true emergency. This MCG telemedicine thing sounds like a great idea, a giant leap forward, and will eventually save a heck of a lot of money!

disssman
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disssman 12/08/09 - 08:49 am
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Here we are banning friges to

Here we are banning friges to save 10.000 a year and talking about spending millions on a pie in the sky program. I wonder if sytandup guy could tell all of us just how it will save a heck of a lot of money? And Nurses aren't needed? I would remind all of us that a teacher, who isn't even trusted to give a student an aspirin, is now going to be in charge of medical emergencies. I really wonder how many real emergencies we have had daily in our schools to warrant even thinking about this?

cleanup
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cleanup 12/08/09 - 09:12 am
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RCBOE and Bedden are total

RCBOE and Bedden are total jokes, as are most of the principals and administrators.

corgimom
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corgimom 12/08/09 - 09:27 am
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Asthma, diabetes, and

Asthma, diabetes, and high-risk pregnancies- and all of them are high-risk due to the young ages of the mothers

KingJames
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KingJames 12/08/09 - 10:50 am
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I thought school nurses had

I thought school nurses had to have BSNs. Wouldn't that exclude LPNs? I think this program might be a way for schools without a nurse present to provide certain assessment information (temperature, blood pressure, responsiveness, etc.) to the hospital while an ambulance is in route. It will in no way take the place of a qualified nurse. Any board member who suggests that it can should hear from his/her constituents.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 12/08/09 - 11:23 am
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of course another wastefull

of course another wastefull useless program, ultimately the cost of which will be put on the backs of the property owners...but this is just the hair-brained, backward and asinine programs pitched at the inept school board and with the widow clark on the board, being an ex-nurse i bet she will be leading the fore-front leading the charge to purchase this, and not too far behind will be the esteemed ms. cain schreeching "FOR THE CHILDREN!!"...BTW hey school board before throwing more money down the rat hole usleless, wasteful programs, football stadiums and/or basketball gymnasiums for schools that consistantly fail to meet ayp and have low graduation rates, WHY NOT MAKE SURE THE TEACHER HAVE ADAQUATE SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND A SUFFICIENT EUNFF AMOUNT OF TEXTBOOKS..you know those things you open and they have words in them, pertaining to knowledge that the students study and remember when it comes test time...

30cal
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30cal 12/08/09 - 12:34 pm
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now we know what they did

now we know what they did w/the refrigerator savings

ron_rlw
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ron_rlw 12/08/09 - 01:34 pm
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While I think that bringing

While I think that bringing the video conference nurse system to the schools might not be a bad idea ... I do question the wisdom of spending this extra money when we are forcing teachers to tak a cut in pay ... with forelough days. Or is this a backhanded attempt to reduce the number of school nurses needed?

coolette
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coolette 12/08/09 - 03:56 pm
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OK we expect our teachers to

OK we expect our teachers to parent, teach, police, and now medical professionals. Let's just make them all become boarding schools!!!

corgimom
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corgimom 12/08/09 - 07:03 pm
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It's about nurses and school

It's about nurses and school personnel practicing medicine without a license, and it's wrong. Not just for the kids, not just for the parents, but for the personnel too. It is not about "not being trusted to give an aspirin". We don't WANT to give medicine to children, it's frightening to do that with someone else's child- a thousand things could go wrong. It's about children with LIFE-THREATENING illnesses that are at school with no access to a doctor. Lifelong, I guess you'd prefer that a child would die to save you some money. Who wouldn't want sick children to have access to a doctor?

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