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Health clinic opens at high school

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published October 14, 2015

 Constance Kangas, pediatric nurse practitioner for Henry Ford Macomb’s Mount Clemens Health Center, treats Mount Clemens High School freshman Shardasha McNeal, one of the new school-based clinic’s first patients.

Constance Kangas, pediatric nurse practitioner for Henry Ford Macomb’s Mount Clemens Health Center, treats Mount Clemens High School freshman Shardasha McNeal, one of the new school-based clinic’s first patients.

Photo provided by Michelle Fusco

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MOUNT CLEMENS — Henry Ford Macomb Hospital has opened its first school-based health center at Mount Clemens High School.

Henry Ford officials said the clinic, which is being called Clem Care, is for patients 10 to 21 years of age, and services students at both Mount Clemens Middle School and the high school, and those who qualify within the community.

The location is part of Henry Ford Health System’s network of school-based health centers throughout the service area.

“We have a 15-year relationship with Mount Clemens (Community) Schools promoting wellness,” said Jill Yore, R.N., manager of Henry Ford Macomb’s School Health Network. “Adding the school-based health center is a crucial way to close the gap for struggling families in need of access to health care.”

The year-round clinic, currently open 24-hours a week, provides primary care services including immunizations, physicals, basic first aid, vision and hearing screenings and referrals, lab testing, and chronic disease management for conditions like asthma or diabetes. The clinic is staffed with a nurse practitioner and a behavioral health therapist. Chris O’Connell provides medical oversight as the health center’s medical director.

In addition, the center offers an array of social services, including counseling, pregnancy prevention and basic health education.

The staff also supports the wellness needs of patients’ families and helps them to enroll in Medicaid or medical insurance if needed, and no student is ever denied medical treatment based on an inability to pay.

Yore applied for project funding through the Michigan Department of Education, with the support of Henry Ford Health System’s School Based and Community Health Department. Receiving the grant was especially gratifying for Yore, as she grew up in the community and graduated from Mount Clemens Community Schools.

She said many students in the Mount Clemens schools face major barriers to care, such as parents needing time off work to bring their children to the doctor, transportation and cost. By removing these barriers, the clinic’s goal is to create a better learning environment for the students and have a real, long-term impact on their lives.

“Students are more likely to come to school, more likely to graduate and less likely to be in poverty when health services are provided at their school,” Yore said.

Mount Clemens Community Schools interim Superintendent William Pearson said Clem Care enables the district to attend to student health, which “is the foundation for their overall development, ensuring that they have access to receive adequate health care, increased opportunity to improve their health status and readiness to learn.

“It’s an effective means to ensure students have access to a range of primary and preventive services, as well as coordination and referrals,” Pearson said. “It is our hope that the clinic will reduce illness-related student absence and increase their chances to succeed by ensuring that they are physically well, and provide parents a safe and convenient way to take care of routine health concerns and immunizations.”

To schedule an appointment, call (586) 461-3363.

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