Debbie Piotrowski, Jamestown High School's nurse practitioner, applied fluoride varnish to a student's teeth during a recent oral health check at the School-Based Health Center (SBHC). The oral health checks are new to the SBHC this year due to a $15,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente. The grant, only one of two received in the entire state of New York, allows JHS SBHC to identify 150 students that do not have a dentist to provide basic, preventive dental care through The Resource Center's Dental Clinic. The grant also stresses dietary counseling to caution students on eating high-sugar and calorie foods, as well as teaching about good oral hygiene.
''The dental component is vitally important, as poor dental health can lead to worsening other chronic conditions,'' said Mrs. Piotrowski. Dental caries or cavities are the No. 1 chronic disease among children. ''Our hope is to expand the services by adding a dental hygienist at the SBHC through future funding.''
JHS' SBHC provides students with comprehensive health care on school premises during school hours. A collaboration between the Jamestown Public Schools and The Resource Center, on days that school is in session, students visit the health center for complaints ranging from chronic conditions such as asthma to sore throats and your run-of-the-mill aches and pains.
Jamestown High School’s Nurse Practitioner Debbie Piotrowski applies a fluoride varnish to a student’s teeth in the School Based Health Center.
''Many parents find it difficult to get time off for their children's appointments. SBHCs can bring a sigh of relief for the parents who lack flexibility in their work schedule,'' said Mrs. Piotrowski. ''The SBHC staff makes every effort to communicate regularly with parents concerning their children's visits to the clinic. A report of the child's visit is faxed to their primary care provider, usually the day of the visit. The SBHC can become the child's primary care provider for those children without a PCP.''
Some of the services at the JHS SBHC include: complete physical examinations (may be used for sports physicals, NYS-mandated school physicals, college) first aid, immunizations, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness, health education, referral service, health screening (vision, hearing, scoliosis), oral screening and dental referrals, mental health screening and referrals, counseling, and child health plus information and enrollment.
Enrollment is easy. Students receive services when a parent or legal guardian completes a registration form, which can be found online at www.jamestownpublicschools.org or can be mailed if you call the SBHC at 483-4373. Eighth-grade parents can enroll their children now for their JHS freshman year. There are no eligibility requirements except to be a JHS student. Parents are welcome to accompany their child, may call their child's school nurse or SBHC staff, or send a note to arrange for the child to be seen at the SBHC. Sometimes the child is too ill to attend school. The parent can call the SBHC for a same day appointment. Every effort will be made to contact parents when their child is seen and treated.
The Resource Center physician, Dr. Thomas Putnam, is available for consultation as needed and is on site at the school regularly to provide direct patient services and review. A full-time RN provides clinical support for the nurse practitioner. A full-time medical assistant provides clerical support to the program along with assisting families with Child Health Plus enrollment.
''We do not replace the child's primary care physician,'' said Mrs. Piotrowski. ''We work with them to provide quality care for JHS students.''
The SBHC is subsidized in part by a NYS DOH grant. The student's health insurance plan is billed directly if a student is covered by a health insurance plan. There are no out-of-pocket expenses to the family for SBHC services. Services are still provided at no cost to the family if there is no insurance coverage. New York state has a health insurance plan for children, called Child Health Plus. Your child may be eligible for either Child Health Plus A or Child Health Plus B depending on your family's income. For more information, please call the JHS SBHC at 483-4373.