Home > Education, FUSD, Uncategorized > FUSD Considers School Based Mobile Health Unit

FUSD Considers School Based Mobile Health Unit

By Elisha Dorfsmith

I just returned from tonight’s Flagstaff Unified School District board meeting and wanted to pass on the following information which was very disturbing to me.

Eric Henley of North Country Health Care gave a presentation proposing a school based mobile health unit. This unit would provide school based health services through a pilot program starting at MEMS, Killip, Kinsey and Leupp.  FALA could be an additional partner. Mr. Henley explained to the board that the grant North Country Health Care is pursuing is available because of the recently passed federal health bill. He told the board that they need a partner to supply patients in order to get the grant. Apparently, FUSD would provide enough patients to sustain the program.

Here is the plan in a nutshell: nurses would refer students to the health van and the van would also be available for emergencies. Parents would have the option to opt in/out but parents may not have to consent in an emergency.  We were told that there are about 1,900 of these programs nationwide. The program would cost around $200,000 a year but Mr. Henley said that the district would not be on the hook for that money.

Mr Henley explained that services would be up to the board to decide but could include the following:

–Primary care for students (he mentioned common illnesses such as asthma)

–Behavioral Health

–Health Education

–Reproductive Health Options

–24 Hour On Call Availability


Mr. Henley suggested that the district look into creating a school health advisory committee to help with details. The board and superintendent were clearly not aware of most of this information and Ms. Hickman, Ms. Ells, and Mr. Kulpinski admitted that they had reservations and concerns. Mr. Bavasi expressed his support for the program. In the end, the board decided to look into the idea more and they expect to vote on this plan at their January 11th meeting. The Deadline to apply for the grant is January 12th. With the holidays upon us, I have a hard time believing that the school board will be able to examine every issue and concern before they vote. Here are some of my concerns:

FUSD goes out of their way to NOT inform parents of their right to opt out of vaccines:


Can we trust them to inform us that we can opt out of the Mobile Health Van when it arrives at our child’s school?

When we get to know our child’s nurse we become comfortable letting that nurse take care of our child. Are you comfortable giving a complete stranger in a mobile health van access to your child?

Will there be some kind of accountability in place to insure that no adult is left alone with a child?

Will a trusted adult take your child to the van and can we be sure that the mobile van will stay on the premises?

Ms. Hickman stressed that FUSD is not in the health business and that the mobile health van would be separate  from the district. Where does the accountability come in? Who is responsible if something goes wrong?

This whole concept frightens me.

If you share my concerns or have concerns of your own, please contact the board and Ms. Hickman and let them know how you feel. You can find the board member’s contact information here:


Ms. Hickman can be reached here:

Email Address: bhickman@fusd1.org
Phone number: 928-527-6002

This was tonight’s full agenda:


In addition to discussing the mobile health van, the board voted as follows:

— No on structured recess.

— Yes on a prop 301 plan.

— Yes on renewing their NAU lease.


Categories: Education, FUSD, Uncategorized
  1. December 16, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Another idea that was brought up at the meeting was on site diagnosis. Imagine sending your child to school and having them diagnosed and treated for a behavioral disorder. Regardless of the procedure and consent involved, this will ultimately lead to more behavioral drugs prescribed to our children. Does this concern anyone besides me?

    While the majority of the emails I received about this post were supportive of my position, I did have a couple people ask why I don’t seem to care about needy kids who should get free health care.

    Here’s a much better question: Are schools officially in the health business now? And if so, should they be?

    Maybe if the test scores were the best in the country, the graduation rate was near 100% and all the education issues were worked out, we could at least have a discussion about health care. Right now, let’s get the basics right before expanding into other fields.

  2. Sara Klause
    December 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    “Maybe if the test scores were the best in the country, the graduation rate was near 100% and all the education issues were worked out, we could at least have a discussion about health care.” Adding this service would work to increase the health of Flagstaff’s children, so in turn would decrease the distractions in the classroom, and theoretically increase achievement. As it is, most folks don’t know the school nurse and so the trusted person in that position argument doesn’t hold. I don’t see that see this option leading to increased number of kids on meds for behavior because that will still need the involvement of a doctor, so I don’t see how the two would be related. The van option as a way to increase services for those that need them, and to take some of the load off FUSD for more urgent healthcare needs is an idea worth further exploration.

  3. December 20, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Thanks for your comments Sara.

    I made sure I knew my sons nurse well when he went to school in the district.

    Recommendations for behavioral health treatment do lead to more medicated children. There are studies I can provide to prove it if you’d like me to post them.

  1. March 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm
  2. September 15, 2011 at 9:25 am
  3. February 15, 2013 at 9:26 am

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