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)
–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:
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.