Hopewell Health Centers and Federal Hocking Local Schools are pleased to announce the opening of a new health clinic and a new socialization play space for young children located at the middle-high school. Mark Bridenbaugh, CEO for Hopewell Health Centers, and Dr. George Wood, Federal Hocking School Superintendent, welcomed staff and community members at an informal open house on Monday, March 27.
Now, when a student gets sick, they don’t have to wait to be picked up by a parent and then wait for an appointment with the family doctor. Instead, with a parent’s permission, they can be seen right at the school, on the same day at the newly opened health center. The clinic will be staffed with a primary care provider, Mindy Durst who is an Ohio licensed nurse practitioner, and Becky Smart, an experienced LPN transferring from Hopewell Health’s Primary Care Clinic at The Plains. The center will offer acute care, vaccines, sports physicals, as well as a full range of primary care services. In addition to these services, clinic staff hope to integrate health promotion and prevention activities into the school environment. To encourage this, School Principal, Cliff Bonner, and Hopewell’s Site Manager, Shannon Banks, intend to hold a contest for students to help select a permanent name for the new health clinic.
The center will begin serving students on April 17, following spring break and community members shortly thereafter. “This partnership is not just with Federal Hocking Schools, but with the community, too. We are looking toward better health for all residents in this area,” explained Bridebaugh. “Access to health care is important. More people now have coverage, but if they have no place to use it, it doesn’t do much good.” Through its status as a Federally Qualified Health Center, Hopewell Health Centers can offer all students, school staff, and community members services regardless of ability to pay through a sliding fee scale which is supported by grant funds through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The Little Lancers Play Space is in the room right next to the health clinic and will be run by Hopewell Health Centers Early Childhood Department. Hopewell Health’s Early Childhood Director, Erin Lucas, and Brielle Clark, who will oversee activities at the school are both graduates of Federal Hocking High School. They will partner with the Lancer Welcome Wagon staff to hold Parent Café’s and other programming. Parent Cafés are informal gatherings for parents to come and share knowledge and experiences, as well as provide support for one another.
The school doesn’t pay any money toward having the clinic or the play space at the school, they simply offer the space. Instead, funds to build and equip the center were paid for through the Healthier Buckeye Council Grant. The funds went to the local Healthier Buckeye Councils/Family and Children First Councils to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities. In addition to the health center and socialization room at Federal Hocking, the Athens County funds were used to implement Parent Café programs at other local nonprofit organizations, expand the Kinship Navigator program with Integrated Services for Behavioral Health, and the Welcome Home program through the Athens County Health Department.
The health center is open from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information or to make an appointment call (740) 662-0541.