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MCHS Now Offering Telemedicine Services To Students, Staff

by Alexus Underwood/Special to McDonald County Press | September 22, 2022 at 7:51 a.m.
ALEXUS UNDERWOOD/SPECIAL TO MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS Renee Denton, Ken Schutten, Angie Brewer, and Tracy Allman discuss the new telemedicine option at Freeman's telemedicine press conference held at the school. The service is available to all students and staff at MCHS.

ANDERSON -- McDonald County High School will now offer telemedicine services to students and staff through a partnership with Freeman Neosho Hospitals.

At a press conference on Sept. 14, Freeman Neosho chief operating officer Renee Denton explained how telemedicine works, who can use it, as well as offered a demonstration showcasing the ease of the new technology. Students or staff members at MCHS who wish to receive virtual care can receive telemedicine services in the nurse's office, where lead registered nurse Tracy Allman can assist individuals further.

Students or staff members who want to use the service can visit Allman in the nurse's office, where she will connect virtually with a provider at Freeman Neosho. Allman will assist the Freeman representative virtually, helping monitor areas like the skin and ears while also helping the provider hear heart and lung sounds. Denton said the entire process must be approved by a parent before taking place.

"This is not done without parent's permission by any means," Denton said. Denton said parents are able to be a part of the virtual visit by joining a link to the video call, allowing parents to communicate with Freeman staff, Allman, and their students. "Once the school nurse has received permission from the parents that they would like to receive the telemedicine visit, the next thing that Tracy does as the school nurse is she makes a phone call to our Freeman telemedicine team," Denton said.

Denton said the new service, which is now available for use, takes about 30 minutes in total, with 10-12 minutes spent with a Freeman practitioner virtually and approximately three minutes receiving hands-on assistance from Allman.

"We're trying to be very conscientious of the nurse's time as well as the parent's time who's participating in this, all while taking care of the student -- hopefully being able to send them back to the classroom," Denton said.

Denton said a goal of the program includes keeping students and staff in school when possible. "You no longer have to miss school," Denton said. "The whole goal of the program is to keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy and at school."

Denton said telemedicine would allow parents to visit with a provider from work so parents can remain at their jobs during the day while students can remain at school to receive health care.

"We are very very pleased to partner with the McDonald County School District to bring telemedicine, which is going to provide immediate access to care as well as early intervention recognition and diagnosing, and treatment for our McDonald County School children as well as the staff and faculty here," Denton said.

Tracy Allman, MC R1 lead RN, said she believes telemedicine will help expedite the health care process for students and staff.

"This gives us the opportunity to receive medical care for our students and expedite the process in getting them that care that day and helping their parents," Allman said.

Angie Brewer, MCHS principal, said telemedicine would ease access to health care for students.

"I always look for ways to ease access to care for our students and our staff," Brewer said. "We want our students to be healthy and our staff to be healthy so they can come to school and learn and be successful." Brewer said telemedicine would ease the burden on parents as well as reassure them of their students' health and safety in the school. "We want our parents to have the assurance that we have their child's best interest and we're trying to provide a safe and healthy space for them," Brewer said.

The telemedicine visit can be paid for by billing individuals' insurance, and it may be covered by Medicare or a flat fee of $35.

Denton said Freeman's goal is to have telemedicine in every McDonald County School by the end of the year.

"By the end of this calendar year, we will have devices in all McDonald County school sites," Denton said. "So, this will be available to every child at every McDonald County school site, and so this is just the third but the biggest launch that we're doing here in McDonald County schools."

  photo  ALEXUS UNDERWOOD/SPECIAL TO MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS Tracy Allman demonstrates how the telemedicine technology and conference call service works on volunteer student Ava Coffel. During telemedicine visits, parents can participate through a link sent by school RN Tracy Allman.

Print Headline: MCHS Now Offering Telemedicine Services To Students, Staff


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