Allegan County News & Union Enterprise News

OPS receives planning grant for on-site medical center

Although an exact location as yet to be determined, Otsego Public Schools plans to have its school-based medical center somewhere on the district’s main campus. (Photo provided)

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

A planning grant from the State of Michigan could allow Otsego Public Schools to expand access to health care for its students with on-site services.
OPS recently learned it was selected as one of 26 districts throughout the state to receive the Child and Adolescent Health Center Program Planning Grant through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The focus of this grant is “to fill a need for health services to children, specifically in areas where mental and primary health care services aren’t accessible to children and adolescents, require enhancement, or do not currently exist.”
This would be the only clinic of its kinds in an Allegan County school district.
OPS superintendent Jeff Haase explained why the district was among those chosen as a grant recipient.
“Otsego Public Schools is considered a rural district and has one primary care physician to serve students and families,” Haase said. “In addition, the district does not have a mental health provider within district boundaries.
“This Child and Adolescent Health Center would provide an opportunity for our families to receive immediate services for both physical and mental health, on site, which in turn would decrease the amount of time students are absent from school and missing crucial learning opportunities.”
Within a school-based health center, medical services are provided by a medical provider such as a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or physician. All clinical sites offer mental health services provided by a licensed master’s level mental health provider such as a counselor or social worker.
Services that can be provided with this health center are:
Medical Services:
● General health assessments
● Immunizations
● Laboratory and diagnostic testing
● Hearing/vision testing
● Sports physicals
● Nutritional counseling and specialist referrals
● Educational programming
● Referrals
Behavioral Health Services:
● Individual
● Group counseling
● Family counseling
● Substance abuse counseling
● Behavioral modifications
● Health education programming
● Psychological assessments
● Crisis Counseling
● Referrals
● Virtual Psychiatric Services
While the location of this new school-based health center has yet to be finalized, OPS plans to place it in an existing facility on our main campus.
In preparation of opening of the center, OPS has established a Community Advisory Council comprised of school staff, parents, health representatives and clinicians from sponsoring providers. The district is partnering with Ascension Health Care, Allegan County Health Department and OnPoint for services.
“The planning phase of the program is underway and we hope to have the health center up and running in 2024,” Haase adds.
OPS has received $100,000 as part of the grant, including $75,000 to conduct local planning to determine the feasibility, community commitment and documented need for implementing a health center or School Wellness Program. The other $25,000 is for sites that successfully complete planning grant objectives and are approved for renovation and equipment/supplies to start their program.
The plan needs to be submitted during the summer.
School-based and school-linked health center services have been provided in Michigan through the Child and Adolescent Health Center program since the 1980s. State funding for such services began in 1987 through the Michigan Department of Public Health (now the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services).
The CAHC program is jointly managed by MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Education. There are currently 200 existing CAHCs serving students in Michigan.
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