Health policy group releases report on school based health in WV; launches new initiative

West Virginia

It’s called the Children’s Collaborative Project- a grant based project of West Virginians for Affordable Heath Care.  This announcement centers around the first release of a report detailing the findings of a 6-month survey.

Kelli Caseman, with WVAHC said Tuesday, “To better understand and link kids to better health care to schools.”

The group says more than 4,000 surveys were distributed, representing all 55 counties.  There are a number of findings.  

For one, 88% of respondents said there are students in communities who need access to health care and aren’t getting it.  Schools, the majority of people said, are an appropriate place to get that healthcare.  

They also discovered that there are barriers to ensuring children receive proper healthcare- things like transportation, parent engagement, and lack of providers, especially mental health providers. 

Margie O’Kelly is with Cabin Creek Health Systems.  She said,  “We kind of integrate our mental health services within our medical team.  We also have a really great collaborative relationship with the school that we’re in.”

O’Kelly is a behavioral health provider for Herbert Hoover High School.  She says the system they have in place allows students who mental health needs to get that help efficiently and from qualified professionals. 

The takeaway is that WVAHC says the needs of each student, each school, each area is different.  For instance, some survey results conclude that more school-based health centers are needed.

“There are resources and folks around the state who can really help do that,” Caseman said.  “Some folks are going to say that we need more school nurses.  We would be very interested in assisting and advocating for that on a state level.  Some would say more school councilors, some would say social workers.

And that’s why, they say, it’s important to get involved.  This event also served as a statewide call to action.  

The project will be completed next year, and in the meantime, they say they’re looking to help schools and health care agencies get connected so that West Virginia’s students are provided the healthcare they deserve.

To learn more, click here.

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