MetroHealth to open clinic at Heights High

MetroHealth and CH-UH officials celebrate a partnership that puts a clinic in Heights High two days per month.

L-R: MetroHealth School Health Program Director Katie Davis, School Health Medical Director Vanessa Maier, Superintendent Talisa Dixon, Supervisor of School and Community Partnerships Nancy Peppler, BOE Member Beverly Wright, BOE President Jodi Sourini, BOE Member Dan Heintz, BOE Member Malia Lewis, BOE Vice President Jim Posch.

Cleveland Heights High School students will have access to primary health care in school beginning this fall at a clinic staffed by MetroHealth professionals two days per month. The pilot program was designed to help eliminate barriers to health care.

With parent/guardian consent, students can receive routine checkups, immunizations, sports physicals and screenings. The clinic will provide referrals for additional services including behavioral health. The pilot also includes an assessment of students' medical, mental health, wellness, and health literacy needs. The data will help researchers find ways to make it easier for students to access resources at community health centers and improve health care programs.

[Elementary schools in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District have an in-school health care program unrelated to the MetroHealth pilot. For the past two years, a Cleveland Clinic Mobile Health Unit has been visiting the same two schools every week.  As Krissy Dietrich Gallagher reported in a Heights Observer article last month (“CH-UH student receive healthcare at school”), the mobile unit will add two more schools to its route each week beginning this spring. Any CH-UH parents can bring their student to the mobile unit for care.]

“This new partnership with MetroHealth is an exciting opportunity for our community and for the well-being of our students,” said then CH-UH Superintendent Talisa Dixon. “We are continually searching for new ways to break down barriers to academic success. Convenient access to health care is a necessity for our students. I look forward to seeing what this partnership can bring to our district.”

MetroHealth’s School Health Program has proven successful in several Cleveland high schools, including John Adams, Lincoln-West and Garrett Morgan. Launched with a similar pilot program in 2013, it now serves students at 13 schools within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Individual services will be billed to the insurer, and MetroHealth staff will assist those without insurance in applying for coverage. 

“Our school health program is greatly impacting the lives of students and their families. We’ve seen improved attendance in school, higher rates of engagement by both students and parents, and improved grade-point averages,” said Christine Alexander-Rager, M.D., chair of Family Medicine at MetroHealth and senior adviser of its school health program. “I applaud the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district for focusing on the whole child and recognizing that access to health care is vitally important to a student’s academic success.” 

“This partnership is a direct result of our Community in Schools Task Force and its exploration of coordinated wrap-around services in our schools,” said Dixon. “MetroHealth was an engaged partner on the task force and is a perfect fit for us with a newer facility in our community.”  

MetroHealth School Health Program Director Katie Davis and School Health Medical Director Dr. Vanessa Maier outlined the partnership at the CH-UH BOE work session on Feb. 19. MetroHealth is already established in Cleveland Heights. In 2016, it opened an emergency department and started managing the medical offices at the former HealthSpan facility at 10 Severance Circle. In 2018, MetroHealth expanded services by opening a 12-bed hospital at the location.  

Scott Wortman

Scott Wortman is the supervisor of communications for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:32 PM, 04.01.2019