(Neosho, MO) – Newton County commissioners and the superintendents of five school districts in the county joined Freeman Neosho Hospital in announcing the arrival of telemedicine in a media event Wednesday at Diamond Elementary School.
“The Newton County Commission is committed to entities in our county,” says Bill Reiboldt, Presiding Commissioner. “We’ve been given the responsibility of appropriating CARES Act money given to counties by the State of Missouri. We wanted to use this money in a way that will keep working into the future and help the children with healthcare, whether it’s coronavirus or flu viruses that we have every year. We feel telemedicine is a good way to invest the money. Our allocation of more than $380,000 will bring telemedicine to 21 schools. My own experience using telemedicine was very good. You can head off the severity of an illness, which can work to our advantage in the schools.”
Each of the 21 school sites will have a mobile telemedicine cart, complete with medical grade attachments. That equipment, utilized by the school nurse, enables a medical provider away from the school to examine the student, who remains in the school nurse’s office. The medical grade attachments enable the provider to examine the patient’s eyes, ears, nose, and throat, as well as listen to the patient’s heart tones, breath and lung sounds, and abdomen. The dermascope enables the provider to visualize any conditions of the skin, minor injuries, etc.
“Having telehealth equipment available in each location increases access to care,” says Freeman Neosho Chief Operating Officer Renee Denton. “Access to a healthcare provider can be exceptionally challenging for those school districts in rural communities. Many of the school districts have school sites that are separated by several miles. Having equipment in every building will ensure access to healthcare for all students.”
Diamond Schools Superintendent Keith White, PhD, is excited to have the equipment that allows students to stay in school and also allows fewer disruptions for parents.
“As a superintendent, I want to do what is best for our students and staff to ensure the best education possible for our students,” says White. “In order for our students and staff to be their best and for optimum learning to occur, basic needs like the personal health of our students and staff needs to be met. Telehealth helps solve one of the most difficult tasks for many students and staff members — finding the time and resources, following through with scheduling, and going to needed doctor appointments to get their healthcare needs met. Simply put, telehealth will help us keep our students and staff healthy and learning together!”
School telemedicine visits may be used for minor illnesses/injuries that come on suddenly. If a student becomes ill at school, a telemedicine visit is now available for symptoms including but not limited to:
- Sore throat
- Stomach complaints
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Rash or skin irritations
- Pink eye/conjunctivitis
- Seasonal allergies
- Head lice
- Skin irritations
- Minor abrasions or injuries
About Freeman Health System:
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com.
Lisa Olliges, Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System