|Dr. Eric Loy |
(Columbia Magazine photo)
Cumberland Family Medical, based in Burkesville, has clinics at the five schools in Russell County and now has a deal to do likewise with the four in adjoining Adair County.
Dr. Eric Loy, who owns the clinic, "said that the agreement could have an important impact on the community both short term, by helping create a healthier and more focused student body; and long term, by creating a culture where people get acclimated to seeing doctors and nurses for physicals and regular checkups on a consistent basis," Wes Feese reports for The Adair Progress.
“We have a chance to change the culture of health care in Kentucky,” Loy told the Adair County Board of Education, which voted to spend $80,000 next year on the clinics. That is "roughly the same cost the district currently pays for school nurses," Feese reports. "If the trial run next year is successful, both parties will have options to continue the agreement."
"Cumberland Family Medical will pay two-thirds of the nurse expense and will bill the insurance of the patient," Toni Humphress reports for the Adair County Community Voice.
School Supt. Alan Reed complimented the dedication and service of the county’s school nurses but said costs to employ them were “soaring,” Feese reports. Reed said of Loy's plan, “This is kind of a novel approach, and from all we’ve seen, we really like it. It cuts down on time and any barriers for a kid getting health care.”
Loy agreed, saying, “A lot of times that’s the barrier, that it’s hard [for parents] to miss work.”
School principals said sick students may have to sit in an office or lobby all day because working parents are unavailable to come pick the students up and take them to a doctor. "Director of Pupil Personnel Robbie Harmon said that this move could have a bigger long-term impact on the community than any project he’s worked on in his time in the school system."
Loy's in-school clinics are manned by a full-time nurse practitioner who travels between schools, and is overseen by a physician. "Loy said that all forms of insurance would be accepted, and that all children would be seen and treated, regardless of their ability to pay," Feese reports. "He also said that the clinics could help out with insurance enrollment."
Adair County had one of the state's highest percentages of people without health insurance until the federal-state Medicaid program was expanded under federal health reform. The uninsured rate has dropped dramatically, but some families are still without health coverage.