Southern Utah’s first school-based clinic, the Millcreek High Health Center, opened on May 12tt 2009. The center is located at the south end of the west parking lot at Millcreek High School, 2410 E. Riverside Drive.
The health center is a collaborative effort between the Washington County School District, Southwest Community Health Center, and Intermountain Healthcare. The district allocated portable classroom space for the center at Millcreek High School. The Southwest Community Health Center provides operations, which are funded largely by an ongoing grant from an endowment held in trust by Intermountain Healthcare’s home office foundation in Salt Lake City. Other funding will come from payments made on a sliding fee scale based on patients’ ability to pay. Patients with insurance are welcome to use the center as well.
“This clinic will be a great service for our students and those who live in the surrounding area,” said Terry Ogborn, the principal at Millcreek High. “We are so grateful to the Southwest Community Health Center and Intermountain Healthcare for making it possible. Many students have no or little support for healthcare. Some are already parents who care for little ones. We look forward to having primary healthcare services available here. It’s difficult for students to be able to focus on academics if they are struggling with health problems.”
Other benefits to the school district include reduced rate care for faculty members who may not have insurance as well as support for the school nurse program. “We are exploring ways we can use the clinic to extend our school nurse resources,” said LuAnne Forrest, student services director for the school district. “We expect to use Millcreek High Health Center for meeting the needs of students throughout the district.”
The Southwest Community Health Center has been in operation for about six years and has shown steady growth in the number of patients served. “We look forward to adding this center on the east side of the city,” said Nancy Neff, the clinic’s CEO. “Next to the St. George zip codes, research shows Washington City has the greatest need of access to healthcare for the uninsured and under insured. Our primary goal is to be a good healthcare resource for students and faculty who may not have other options. We do also welcome and are looking forward to providing affordable healthcare to those who live in the surrounding area.”
Intermountain Healthcare’s mission includes a commitment to help provide care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. According to Chris Coons, vice president for Intermountain in the southwest region, clinics like the one at Millcreek are part of fulfilling that commitment. “This health center will be a medical home for those it serves,” Coons said. “It is a way to enter the healthcare system appropriately, to connect with a provider who will become familiar with patient needs over time. Doctors provide better care because of that knowledge. We are grateful to partner with the school district and the Southwest Community Health Center in this worthwhile endeavor.”
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