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BCHA expands school-based health care

Barbour Community Health Association’s school based program has been contracted by the Barbour County Board of Education to begin providing both medical and behavioral health services in all Barbour County Schools.

During its Aug. 24 board of education meeting, board members accepted BCHA’s proposal that emphasizes every child, family and school staff member in Barbour County should have access to medical and behavioral health care through a school-based health clinic.

In 1992, services were implemented in Philip Barbour High School to the school’s Brandon Wellness Center and expanded to behavioral health services in 2017. These services have allowed necessary resources to students and families, and over the years has grown to provide additional staff and resources, including health educators, psychological and psychiatric services.

Under the contract, the Brandon Wellness Center at Philip Barbour High School would continue to be the central hub and first point of contact for behavioral health referrals or questions from the community. A full-time licensed mental health provider will remain at that location as well as a case manager to provide support to both the medical provider and the school.

However, the contract now includes adding two additional licensed mental health providers — one to serve Philippi Elementary, Philippi Middle and Kasson Elementary/Middle — and one to serve Belington Elementary, Belington Middle and Junior Elementary. A full-time manager will also be on site for support. BCHA also employs two doctoral level psychologists and a psychiatric nurse practitioner that will be available on an as needed basis for specialty services.

Barbour Community Health Association will also assign one licensed medical provider, and a nurse to these additional locations, with a rotating schedule to best accommodate the needs of each individual school.

To ensure services are effective and adequate, BCHA will meet with school officials every 90 days to discuss how implementation of the program has been going and to troubleshoot any barriers or issues that may arise.

School-based clinics are utilized for both immediate-care services, such as minor injuries or diagnosis and treatment of various health conditions, as well as preventative services, such as health screenings, weight management and providing health education to the students and staff.

By offering these services to all Barbour County Schools, students and families now have easy access to health and wellness.

For more information, call Barbour Community Health Association at 304-823-2800.

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