Until earlier this year, the state-run boarding school had provided its own nurse to run its student clinic. The new agreement will keep a nurse on site, but it also will add on-site services from mid-level providers and a patient access representative. Students needing more advanced care will be able to access SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and behavioral health services. This agreement is a pilot project that will be evaluated at the end of the school year.
"We are really excited about the MOA with SEARHC," said Bill Denkinger, Superintendent of Mt. Edgecumbe High School. "Mt. Edgecumbe High School has a long history with Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and our new MOA will strengthen our relationship and provide better health care to our students."
"We are extremely pleased about this new collaboration," said Mark Gorman, SEARHC Vice President of Community Health Services. "SEARHC will be able to provide readily accessible primary care services to the Mt. Edgecumbe students. It also opens opportunities for us to increase prevention services to this group and encourage healthy lifestyles and behaviors."
For the rest of the school year, a mobile clinic owned by SEARHC will be parked on campus to provide a temporary clinic space for the students while a more permanent space is built. The school has about 400 students, and the vast majority are Alaska Native from small villages around the state. One of SEARHC's goals is to be able to work with the tribal health organizations from each student's home, so health care services can be transferred back home when students leave the school.
"The SEARHC RV together with a mid-level health provider will bring us improved services and convenience for our students," Denkinger said. "We are looking at this as a beginning of an opportunity to continue our work together to make improvements in our school health care program that will be more comprehensive than what we have had in the past. Our thanks go out to SEARHC's Mark Gorman, Cindy Baldwin-Kitka and Dr. David Vastola for their efforts in working with us to make this agreement possible."
"This is an awesome opportunity to work with the school," said Baldwin-Kitka, the HRSA Manager and Business Specialist for SEARHC Community Health Services. "We'll be bringing the care to the students to ensure a continuity of care. We'll know the needs and be able to plan and coordinate care with the other entities that provide services. We want to make sure the care doesn't stop here, and the kids continue to receive care when they go home."