School nurses throughout EPISD will soon have a new virtual tool at their disposal that will help them give sick students and their families even more healthcare options.
Starting this spring, the District will partner with Virtual Care for Kids to provide video conferencing with a doctor or pediatric provider straight from the school nurse’s office. The provider will be able to diagnose an illness and even write a prescription to qualified students.
“Kiddos will be able to be seen with the assistance of our registered nurses in school. There’ll be able to get prescriptions over the counter medication, get a follow-up, and really be able to stay in school and learn because they will be healthier,” said Alana Bejarano, EPISD’s director of health services. “It’s a way for us to take better care of our kids, and make sure that they’re getting the healthcare that they need.”
The program is already being piloted at 11 EPISD campuses: Aoy, Clardy, Hillside, Mesita (main campus), Powell and Roberts elementary schools; Brown and Ross middle schools; Chapin and Coronado high schools; and the Franklin Magnet.
The program will be open to all of the EPISD campuses this fall. Enrollment in the program for the fall is available through online registration.
Packets can be picked up at the 11 pilot campuses. Parents must first register their child for the program and give consent before the school nurse can connect with a doctor or provider once they have determined the child needs an exam and treatment
The service also allows the provider to send an electronic prescription to a pharmacy and gives parents a visit report. Parents also can participate remotely in the telemedicine call.
Bejarano calls Virtual Care an extra tool for EPISD nurses.
“I’m just super excited,” she said. “They already have proven to be a great provider across Texas. Together, we are going to do wonderful things for our kids’ health and wellbeing.”
EPISD is the only area district offering such a service to students.
“It’s really kind of cutting edge,” said Brown Middle nurse Miriam Carmichael. “Our main focus is to really check on those kiddos that don’t have any insurance at all or are in between Medicaid and those situations.”
The visit will be automatically billed to the child’s insurance company with no action needed by the parent or guardian. TRICARE prime members do not pay for the use of this service, and TRICARE select members pay only $21 per visit.
All Texas Medicaid plans are accepted by the program and most visits for Medicaid-covered patients will come at no cost to families.
VC4K is in-network with most major plans and telemedicine visits typically cost the same as a normal trip to a pediatrician.
Urgent Care for Kids will offer charity care for children who are without insurance and who are enrolled in the Free and Reduced Meal Program. All other students without health insurance will be offered a cash pay discount rate of $50 per visit.
Among the conditions treated by telemedicine include:
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Common cold and cough
- Swimmers ear
- Skin conditions
- Strep throat
For more information, go to www.virtualcarekids.com.
Story by Reneé de Santos | Video by EPISD