School-Based Telehealth Clinic formally opens at Landis Elementary School

LOGANSPORT, Indiana – Students in the Logansport Community School Corporation can now benefit from an expansion of innovative high-tech telehealth here. As an active participant in the Indiana Rural School Clinic Network (IRSCN), the Landis Elementary School here now has a fully functional telehealth clinic online, according to Michele Starkey, Superintendent of the Logansport Community School Corporation.

While the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) is funding the program through a HRSA grant, Anthem will be funding the Landis Elementary School’s physical health equipment.

“Using state-of-the-art secure technology to deliver healthcare will benefit students and staff alike,” said Ms. Starkey. “Being able to digitally connect our students to the superb healthcare and behavioral services from Logansport Memorial Hospital and the Four County Counseling Center creates a new dimension of service.”

Ms. Starkey was on hand with other county and state officials to officially open the telehealth clinic at the Landis Elementary School November 27. Other officials and administrators taking part in the ribbon cutting included officials from Anthem, Perry Gay, president and CEO of Logansport Memorial Hospital; Carrie Cadwell, president and CEO of the Four County Counseling Center; Patti Wolf, principal of Landis Elementary; Amy Craven, Landis school nurse; Crystal Zinsmeister, director of care coordination and clinical manager at Logansport Memorial; and Kathleen Chelminiak, project director for IRSCN and the Indiana Rural Health Association.

The students and staff at Landis Elementary will now be able to see a doctor or medical provider through a video-conference. The clinic uses a digital stethoscope and other technology sensory tools to help a linking provider make a diagnosis. School nurses and related staff have received several hours of training on how to utilize the equipment.

Through the technology provided by the Landis clinic, Landis students and staff will have the opportunity to be seen by a remote healthcare provider who actually may be miles away from the school. All of this takes place at Landis, while the student (or staff member) remains at school. This reduces challenges that rural students can face when it comes to receiving quality healthcare during the school day.

“Our goal is to provide high quality healthcare quickly and remove any barriers to accessing primary care on a timely basis” said Kathleen Chelminiak, project director of IRSCN.

To celebrate this critical clinic opening at the Landis Elementary School, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Tuesday, November 27 at 2 p.m. (EST) at the school with education, medical, hospital and agency officials and administrators. The Landis Elementary School is located at 1 Landis Lane in Logansport.

The new Landis Elementary service uses state-of-the-art telemedicine equipment and software to allow medical professionals to directly provide healthcare services. Amy Craven, the school nurse, will use digital diagnostic equipment and sensors transmitting through secure broadband connectivity from the school to facilities at Logansport Memorial or the Four County Counseling Center.

“With this secure platform we can increase access for students and staff directly to our excellent healthcare services at the Logansport Memorial or the Four County Center,” said Gay. “We can save everyone time and promote quality healthcare delivery through this program.”

“We appreciate the forward-looking vision of the Logansport Community School Corporation to take advantage of new technology to bring this critical service to Landis Elementary and other students and staff,” said Dr. Carrie Cadwell, president and CEO of the Four County Counseling Center. “We are pleased to be a partner in this important program and anticipate good success.”

“Using telehealth technology to connect students with medical professionals heightens a level of new service – children can be seen by a provider without a parent having to leave work, or drive in from a remote rural area of Cass County — we can address acute medical care issues as they arise within the school day,” said Ms. Starkey. “I see this as a distinct advantage for our students and parents, especially those living on farms or in remote rural areas of Cass County.”

The medical professional or provider conducting the telehealth diagnostic session can also directly send follow-up information to the children’s physician and prescriptions directly to local pharmacies for pickup. To participate, children must have prior parent/guardian consent. Any fees are appropriately billed to insurance. No student will be denied coverage or treatment because of lack of ability to pay.

The ribbon-cutting included a live demonstration of the high-tech telehealth equipment to be used by the rural clinic, including a high-tech imaging stethoscope, dermscope, and otoscope in addition to customized video equipment and software platforms. The Landis Elementary facility is now a formal part of the Indiana Rural Schools Clinic Network (IRSCN).

The Logansport Community School Corporation initiated the telehealth grant application with the Indiana Rural Health Association to secure funding. “We are grateful that Logansport Memorial and the Four County Center were able to partner with us to provide a great service for our students, staff, and parents,” said Ms. Starkey. “We are very fortunate to have been selected by the IRSCN for the grant and are greatly appreciative to the professionals at Logansport Memorial and the Four County center for joining us in this true community partnership.”

The School-based Telehealth Clinic will also service the telehealth portion with trained medical providers available to help students experiencing acute health symptoms.

Accessing health care in rural areas of Indiana is often more difficult because of factors like poverty, transportation and provider shortages.

“Through this innovative approach of incorporating telehealth into the school setting, we are confident children will receive quality healthcare that is more accessible to them than it ever has been before. Parents won’t have to take time off work, struggle with getting an appointment with their doctor or worry about transportation issues. They can now receive help in getting their children healthier, instead of the limitations they may face with seeking primary care during the school day,” said Don Kelso, IRHA executive director.

The new school-based telehealth clinic is funded through a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant made available to the Indiana Rural Health Association.

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Rural health Association