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Proponents tout benefits of proposed Glenn Hills High clinic

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 9:07 PM
Last updated 10:04 PM
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Although it’s still in the planning stage, proponents of a proposed school-based health clinic at Glenn Hills High School said Tuesday it could increase access to primary care and expand health education opportunities for students.

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A forum was held at Glenn Hills High School to inform peolpe about the health clinic planned for the school.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
A forum was held at Glenn Hills High School to inform peolpe about the health clinic planned for the school.

The clinic, a partnership between the Richmond County School System and local health agencies, would be the first of its kind in the county and one of several in the works across the state.

Robert Pendergrast, an associate professor of pediatrics at Georgia Health Sciences University, said the goal is to have a full-time physician on site to treat minor illnesses and provide checkups, immunizations and screenings.

“It takes health care where the child is,” Pendergrast said. “It has the potential for creating a great deal of better access for kids.”

Funding and structure for the clinic are still being determined, but Pendergrast said he expects it to open this summer.

Carol Rountree, the Richmond County director of student services, said the district will apply for grants to run the clinic.

The school is already partnering with these health agencies on a smaller scale. Nurses from the Richmond County Health Department visit the school twice a month to provide health education about diet, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Two counselors from Jones Behavioral Mental Health Center also work with students with parental consent.

Representative from the two agencies said Tuesday they’d like their services to be available for students whenever the school is open. Kim Whitfield, whose son is a senior at Glenn Hills, said she supports the idea for the clinic, but still has a lot of unanswered questions.

“It seems like it would be something beneficial to the school,” Whitfield said. “At the last minute, I’m always having to run out to get physicals for my son, so having a doctor right at the school would help.”

A few of the roughly 30 people at the forum had other concerns. Susan Swanson, the director of the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center, questioned whether abortion services would be offered at the school.

Carol Bryant, a nurse manager for the health department, said the proposed clinic would not offer contraceptives, abortions or gynecological examinations.

While the project still has several unknowns, Rountree said the clinic could greatly increase access and improve health care for the Glenn Hills community.

“I believe it has the promise to be around for a long time to come,” she said.

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avidreader 10/24/12 - 05:48 am
Let's Back Up A Step!

I fully understand the difference between a grant and the general fund; however, in these delicate economic times, we should not be spending money on any more entitlements that are not absolutely necessary. The "Glenn Hills community" can continue with the status quo until a later date. People need health care. I get it, but let's back up a step. There are existing health care facilities scattered all over this county. How many hospitals do we have (a rhetorical question)? If this clinic at GHHS is such a good idea, let the providers fund it through private donations.

I'm sure Carol Roundtree will say something like, "The money's out there; if we don't go for it, then someone else will." This is probably true, but, as a community, let's be responsible and say, "NO". I am sick and tired of the feds doling out billions of dollars in entitlements.

The Glenn Hills community can find an existing health care facility that will comfort them.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 10/24/12 - 07:41 am

Avidreader is on sound footing. It's another entitlement. It's a step along the path to complete socialized medicine. The federal government has mortgaged the future of our children, making their opportunities fewer when they enter adulthood. I agree with Avidreader that communities need to say, “No!” to federal handouts. They are traps that ensnare our freedom.

scschoolnurse 10/24/12 - 08:45 am
Taxpayers=society's new parents

Just another government program to take any responsibility off of the parent(s);I see it everyday in my job! We feed students 2 meals a day at school, send them home on weekends with a backpack of food if needed, and have free daycare after school (even when the parent doesn't work.) I am not opposed to feeding the children, but often I see children that lose their free medicaid coverage simply because the parent doesn't bother to fill out the annual paperwork requesting it. The children are often overdue immunizations because the parent can't find the time to get them to the health department for their free shots, so let's bring the health clinic to them? In SC, we don't have funding to even have a nurse in every school, which is pretty sad.

soapy_725 10/25/12 - 08:00 am
The Cuban Plan

Benevolent government takes them from the mother after 12-18 months of nursing and raises the children. Mother goes back to cane fields. Cradle to grave. Cradle to sugar cane field or baseball field, then to grave. Viva Cuba!!!! Wonder why they require citizens to work and contribute?

soapy_725 10/25/12 - 08:03 am
The school house could become a one stop child

enrichment center. Housing, feeding,nursing, learning, mentoring,religious indoctrination, policing and if necessary incarceration. Parents would be free to recreate with the appropriate amenities available.

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