School Based Health Center Set to Open in Jackson County

Beginning April 2019, in collaboration with the Jackson County Public Schools (JCPS), Blue Ridge Health (BRH) will open new school based health centers (SBHC) at Fairview School and Smoky Mountain High School. The seventh and eighth SBHCs operated by BRH in Western North Carolina (WNC), the sites will provide primary care medical services to start. Services will be provided during school hours, three days per week, to all Fairview Elementary and Smoky Mountain High School students. Additional access to comprehensive primary care – including family medicine, pediatrics, counseling, psychiatry and nutrition – will be available at Blue Ridge Health-Jackson (BRH-J) located at 293 Hospital Road in Sylva.

SBHCs are practices that bring preventive and acute care, as well as health education and other services, to children and adolescents at schools. Each community determines which services are provided based on students’ needs. All BRH SBHCs are satellite practices of the organization and are fully licensed outpatient health facilities. They are staffed by BRH pediatric and adolescent health specialists, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, licensed clinical social workers (counselors), and a consulting medical director.

Funding from The Great Smokies Health Foundation ($5,000) and The Foundation for a Healthy Carolina ($25,000) made opening these health centers possible, by providing needed medical and IT equipment, furniture and supplies. The SBHC will function like a medical practice in the school and, as such, there will be a charge for most services provided by medical providers and behavioral health counselors. All insurances are accepted at the SBHC. Those without insurance or with high deductible plans can qualify for a sliding fee scale based on income and household size. No one is turned away for an inability to pay.

Studies show that the presence of a school based health center is associated with improved educational status, including higher grade point averages and higher rates of high school completion.

SBHC staff work closely with school nurses and key school support staff to identify and treat student health issues. "The addition of a school based health center represents our district’s commitment to our students well-being,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Kim Elliott, “We want to promote the utilization of preventive care services whenever possible and, nationwide, school based health centers have been demonstrated to help prevent chronic absenteeism and provide access for families in a way that encourages regular utilization."

These new sites in Jackson County will be the second and third SBHC practices opened by BRH this year. The first was opened in Polk County in January. It is another step by BRH toward its goal of increasing collaboration with public school districts in WNC. Six additional SBHCs operated by BRH are located in Henderson and stakeholders are currently exploring the possibility of offering these services to the Catamount School beginning in the Fall of 2019.

“We opened our first school based health center in Henderson County in 1996 and the program has grown significantly since then,” said Tammy Greenwell, Chief Operations Officer for Blue Ridge Health and President of the North Carolina School Based Health Alliance, “In our experience, the addition of on-site healthcare services in schools yields positive results for the well-being and academic success of students in the district. This has made the program a highly sought after solution across our region and nationwide.”

SBHCs primarily operate in communities designated as Medically Underserved Areas and Health Professional Shortage Areas and play a critical role in providing students with primary care. Across the country, more than 2,000 SBHCs – one-third of which are located in rural communities - serve over two million students. This collaborative approach in Jackson County is intended to take care of student’s health and well-being while supporting attendance and academic success. It improves access to care for students so that students and parents do not need to miss school or work to receive care they need. Students and staff can come to the practice by appointment or walk-in for routine healthcare, minor injuries, or to be treated when they are ill.

The BRH – Fairview Elementary School and Smoky Mountain High School sites will be open three days per week to start, with plans to expand hours in the next academic year. Those wanting to schedule an appointment or seeking more information about the health center are encouraged to call 828-233-2280. Like all Blue Ridge Health practices in WNC, appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome.

About Blue Ridge Health

Blue Ridge Health is a nonprofit healthcare system that works closely with communities to meet the ever-changing healthcare needs of our region with highquality, comprehensive, and accessible healthcare services. With 20 locations throughout western North Carolina and additional programs within schools, BRH offers primary care, dental, pharmacy, behavioral health and nutrition services that prioritize the patient care experience. For more than 55 years, BRH has served as the leader in community-focused healthcare, providing services to communities in Henderson, Jackson, Haywood, Transylvania, Buncombe, Rutherford, and Polk counties.

If you would like more information about Blue Ridge Health, call 828.692.4289 or visit brchs.com.

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ALERT - Coronavirus/COVID-19

Innovative Ways Blue Ridge Health Can Keep You Healthy During COVID-19

During this cautious time, Blue Ridge Health remains a trusted source for all of your healthcare needs. We encourage patients to use telephonic or electronic visits that are now available to take care of your medical and behavioral health care needs.  We’re here to help keep you healthy no matter how long the pandemic lasts.

Please don’t hesitate to call 828-692-4289 option #1 or your local Blue Ridge Health office for more information. We are here to help!

Due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak, patients visiting our practices should anticipate the following changes:

  • When you arrive at the practice, look for a member of our staff to provide site-specific instructions.

  • If you do not see a staff member, call the practice and instructions will be provided.

If you suspect that you have been exposed to Coronavirus, or you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, please contact your local Blue Ridge Health office prior to visiting. They are happy to help and will provide further instructions.

Please be aware that these changes are necessary in order to serve you best.

Please follow instructions closely. We will help you as soon as we are able.

Important Information about Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) – READ MORE

ALERTA - Coronavirus/COVID-19

Maneras innovadoras de Blue Ridge Health para ayudarle a mantenerse sano durante COVID-19

Durante este tiempo de cautela, Blue Ridge Health sigue siendo un recurso confiable para todas sus necesidades de atención médica.  Nosotros animamos a los pacientes a programar consultas telefónicas o vía electrónica que ahora están disponibles para sus necesidades de atención médica y de salud conductual. Estamos aquí para mantenerle saludable, sin importar cuanto tiempo dure la pandemia.

Por favor no dude en llamarnos al 828-692-4289 opción #1 o su oficina local de Blue Ridge Health para más información. ¡Estamos aquí para ayudarle!

Con el brote de Coronavirus/ COVID-19, los pacientes visitando nuestros consultorios, deben anticipar los siguientes cambios:

  • Al llegar al consultorio, busque a un miembro de nuestro personal para recibir instrucciones específicas.

  • Si no encuentra a un miembro de nuestro personal, favor de llamar a la oficina y le darán instrucciones.

Si sospecha que ha sido expuesto al Corona virus, o si tiene fiebre, tos, o falta de respiración, favor de comunicarse con su oficina local de Blue Ridge Health antes de visitar el consultorio. Con gusto le ayudarán y darán instrucciones adicionales.

Favor de tener en cuenta que estos cambios son necesarios para poder servirle mejor.

Favor de seguir las instrucciones atentamente. Le ayudaremos lo más pronto posible.

Para información adicional y actualizaciones sobre COVID-19 puede visitar nuestra página: Información sobre el Corona virus (COVID-19).