Freeman Neosho Hospital grant to help local students

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NEOSHO, Mo. – Freeman Neosho Hospital will use a $100,000 grant to create the Southwest Missouri School Health Network – helping students in McDonald County.

“Together we will expand how we collaborate to deliver medical and behavioral health services by adding increased telehealth services and much more,” says Renee Denton, Freeman Neosho Hospital Chief Operating Officer.

The network will be a partnership of Freeman Neosho, Ozark Center and McDonald County R-1 School District. The funding is through US Department for Health and Human Services (HRSA).

The one-year planning grant will focus on care coordination among network partners, as they lay the groundwork for a robust network focused on delivering school health services.

“The goal is to increase access to care and improve care coordination for children and families through school health programs,” says Project Supervisor Cassie Dent.

Health care service delivery changes will include:

  • Telehealth visits for medical and behavioral health
  • Increased health education for children and families
  • Greater awareness and response to the needs of children and families with complex medical and social needs
  • Collaborative benchmarking of health outcomes and reporting on improvement over time
  • Development of a school wellness council that includes parents, students and community members

“This will be a great help to our school district,” says Joy Hardridge, McDonald County R-1 School District Assistant Superintendent. “Our district covers many miles, and it can be a challenge for parents to take students to medical or behavioral health appointments. This will allow parents to stay at work and get students back to class sooner. Plus, developing a school wellness council will generate buy-in from our community to improve overall health for those in our schools and community.”

“The needs of our district are large,” says Hardridge. “We have students who have experienced trauma, and getting them the support they need without taking them out of school for a half day or full day is critical. Even more critical is being able to have a service provider with whom they can establish a relationship and see consistently, allowing them to build trust.”

“It begins with a network technology assessment,” says Dent. “That will examine IT systems and opportunities for the efficient collection and aggregation of data, telehealth services, and unified health outcome reporting.”

A business assessment will determine necessary levels of staffing, equipment and support for reimbursement to assure the sustainability of future network activities.

The sustainability plan will be developed using the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model, and the network will align its planning efforts with the Missouri Department of Education’s Coordinated School Health Coalition and the national School-Based Health Alliance.

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