ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – For some, getting to the doctor with their child is not an easy task. But luckily, there are four School-Based Health Alliance locations across Oneida County.
Rich Williams, Chief Operating Officer of the Upstate Family Health Center, which sponsors these school-based health centers, says these locations offer almost everything that a primary care office does.
“From well child checks to physicals, sports physicals, employment physicals,” said Rich Williams, RN, “We offer immunizations, we offer chronic disease management.”
There is currently one stationed in Waterville and three within the Utica City School District.
“They’re located at the Martin Luther King Elementary School, Donovan Middle School, and Kernan School,” explained Williams.
“And then in Waterville, it’s located at the Waterville Junior/Senior High School and the Memorial Park Elementary school in Waterville.”
He continued, “Hours are generally – if the school is open, the health center is open.”
Williams also explained that this is a good alternative for those who struggle to bring their children to the doctor during work hours.
“So, the beauty of a school-based health center is that the mom and dad don’t need to take time off of work,” said Williams.
“With the school-based health center, when they’re enrolled in the program, they can actually receive a strep test, get seen by a nurse practitioner, and actually get started on an antibiotic, and then hopefully be back to school within 24 hours.”
And with inevitable holiday breaks, schools will be closed, which means these health centers will be closed along with them. But luckily, there are other options.
“So, any child that’s enrolled in the school-based health center is also enrolled with our main office in Utica,” said Williams.
He continued, “We also provide 24-hour on-call, so even if a child sees a pediatrician from another practice, they can still call our office and we can still get them seen.”
“Again, if transportation is an issue, we have a contract with Lyft – so we can actually use Lyft to bring people into the clinic. We can do tele-visits, or we also have an arrangement with Central Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance, where we will actually send a paramedic out to the house to do an assessment, and then loop in a tele-visit with a provider in-office.”
He concluded, “We give people multiple options and try not to overburden emergency rooms or urgent care settings. You know, to save those for the more urgent or emergent needs.