Glenbrook's in-school health center to reduce time away for students and staff
Glenbrook South High School's new health center is designed to give students and staff members access to quality medical care and help reduce their time away from school due to illness.
Located across the hall from the nurses' office at the Glenview school, the health center essentially is a doctor's office offering free medical care to students and staff members of both Glenbrook High School District 225 schools. Students of Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook will have access to transportation to the health center.
Officials from District 225, representatives from operating partner Advocate Health, elected officials including U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky and state Sen. Laura Fine, and dozens of guests celebrated the official opening of the Glenbrook School Health Center Friday.
"The Glenbrook school-based health center is designed for both students and staff, to give them access to medical care and to keep them healthy and in school," District 225 Superintendent Charles Johns said.
The concept is modeled after similar facilities in nearby Maine Township High School District 207 and Evanston Township High School.
Among the Glenbrook center's services are school and athletic physical exams and immunizations, screening, diagnosis and treatment of pain and illness, screening for dental, vision and hearing, diagnostic lab tests, referrals for emergency treatment, and individual counseling sessions with a social worker. Medical records remain confidential between the patient, family and operating partner, documents show.
Last June, the District 225 school board approved a first-year annual cost of $430,000 to Advocate Aurora health, which operates the Maine 207 center. The motion specified a five-year professional services agreement with annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index.
While speaking at Friday's ceremony, Schakowsky presented a ceremonial $250,000 check representing the federal funding she helped secure for the health center's opening.
"It is such a privilege to be a member of the United States Congress, to be able to participate in such a wonderful, wonderful event like this, to be able to open up a health center that is available to all of the students in the district," Schakowsky said.
Associate Superintendent R.J. Gravel said having the health center would help reduce time away from school for students.
Previously, a student experiencing a stomach bug would be sent to the nurses' office, a determination would be made for the student to go home and a parent would have to pick up the student, with a recommendation to take the student to a doctor for additional consultation or treatment. He said it's not common to be able to make a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day, so in that case, the student generally goes home and sleeps.
With the health center, students with cold or flu symptoms would still need to go home, but they would leave with the professional guidance from a doctor or nurse practitioner, and a prescription, if needed.
He said it will be more efficient for students to visit the health center, where they can be seen in 20 minutes or less, instead of the hours it would take to drive to a doctor's office, sit in waiting and examination rooms, before finally being seen by a physician.
It also offers students who don't have access to health care for a variety of reasons, including lack of health insurance, easier access to medical professionals.
"So this provides them with that pharmacy-based, clinical setup right here in the school," Gravel said.