Affordable health care is the goal behind the opening of the Mount Carmel Health Station at Reynoldsburg City Schools' (HS)2 Academy.
A grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the Health Station is scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, Aug. 30, at Reynoldsburg High School's Health Science and Human Services (HS)2 Academy, 6699 E. Livingston Ave.
Principal Anne Baldwin said there will be a brief program at 4 p.m., after which attendees will be able to tour the health center and meet the staff.
"The Reynoldsburg community is welcome to attend," she said.
This will be the third Mount Carmel Health Station to open in central Ohio, but the first in a school building, said Brian Pierson, director of Mount Carmel community outreach.
He said the Health Station at the school opened its doors in February, but only for one or two days a week. Hours have expended to 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and every other Saturday. Appointments can be made by calling 614-367-1255.
"This is a first-time thing for us, so we wanted to work out any glitches and then move forward to letting the community know we are there," he said.
Staffed with a medical doctor and nurse practitioner, the Health Station is designed to provide primary and preventive care to patients "with health-care barriers," Pierson said. The fees include a sliding scale for uninsured and underinsured patients.
The Health Station entrance is at the east end of the front of the school.
"We have signage on our doors, but will soon put a larger sign on the building itself," he said.
Besides having a separate entrance, the Health Station rooms will be sealed off so people coming in for treatment will not have access to inner parts of the school, Pierson said.
"We accept all insurances, but will also see people if they don't have insurance," he said.
Baldwin said she brainstormed ways Mount Carmel could collaborate with the school after she learned about Mount Carmel's mobile coach, which she described as "an emergency room on wheels."
"The idea at first was to have the mobile coach visit our school and provide services to our community," she said. "Through our discussions about the different avenues that health care could be provided and research by Mount Carmel about the medical needs in our area, the idea of bringing the mobile coach to our school a few times a month grew to the development of a full-time primary care office."
Baldwin said an advantage to having the Health Station in the school building is the proximity to health care staff.
"These experts can help us as educators make connections with the content we're teaching in our courses to what students will be asked to do in a professional setting," she said. "Our students will be able to work with the health center staff to develop solutions to problems that they come across, so student projects in class will move from just being completed for a grade to providing a solution for a real-world issue."
She said the school set up a luncheon and brainstorming session with health center staff members on Aug. 28, where teachers and health center personnel could meet and "begin to identify the many opportunities that we will have to work together."
Baldwin said her students would not volunteer or intern directly in the Reynoldsburg Health Station, "due to privacy concerns."
"We are working on developing an internship program with Mount Carmel so that our students do have an opportunity for a firsthand experience in the health system," she said.
Pierson said there would be many other opportunities for students in Mount Carmel hospitals and at some of the other health centers.
"Our concerns for one so close to home were the confidentiality challenges," he said.
This is Baldwin's 11th year at Reynoldsburg High School's Livingston campus; she was a social studies teacher and instructional coach before becoming principal at (HS)2 last year.
"It is exciting to see where I once taught social studies being transformed into a health center that will not only benefit our students, but the entire Reynoldsburg community," she said. "It is energizing to work with a dedicated team of staff and partners to develop an academy and experiences for students that are geared toward their interests."
Tricia Moore, district coordinator of community outreach, said Mount Carmel is leasing space in the building at no cost, except for $150 a month to offset utility expenses.
She said the center includes four patient rooms, a waiting area and offices for medical staff. A designated parking area with an electric outlet will accommodate specialized mobile coaches, such as Mount Carmel's mammography coach.