Meijer has donated $2 million to Cleveland Clinic Children’s school-based health care program to purchase a mobile unit that will visit Northeast Ohio school districts throughout the school year to provide any needed health care, according to a news release.
The mobile full-service pediatric office is the second unit for the school-based health program, which provides medical care to children while they are at school.
It will help expand services into the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, where primary care access is needed among children in the city’s public schools, who are disproportionately affected by poverty.
The unit provides health and wellness services to students — regardless of health insurance status — from kindergarten through 12th grade including, according to the release: immunizations, first aid, complete physical examinations, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness and more.
“We know education is a social determinant of health and can have a lifelong impact on a person’s health and wellbeing,” pediatrician Dr. Roopa Thakur said in a provided statement. “Missing school due to health concerns, or not accessing care because you don’t want to miss school, can disrupt a child’s long-term health and development. Our program aims to help combat this by offering pediatric health care services while also ensuring kids stay in school and parents don’t miss work for an office visit.”
Thakur is the medical director of Cleveland Clinic Children’s school-based health care program, which in the 2019-2020 school year served 1,894 unique patients. The Clinic plans to expand patient enrollment in the program among partner districts: Cleveland Metropolitan School District, East Cleveland, Step Forward Greater Cleveland, Maple Heights, Warrensville Heights and Lakewood.
As the COVID-19 pandemic moved students to virtual learning, there was an increased need for access to consistent quality health care for children, according to the release, which notes that even when school is conducted virtually, the unit is on-site to ensure seamless and consistent care. The school-based health care program expanded telemedicine to address new concerns and follow-up care for chronic conditions.
Caregivers at Cleveland Clinic Children’s provide educational talks on adolescent health, hygiene, dental health and other topics throughout the school year.
“Meijer cares deeply about the communities we serve, especially the health and wellbeing of the people who live in them,” Meijer president and CEO Rick Keyes said in a provided statement. “We’re pleased to continue our partnership with Cleveland Clinic to not only expand convenient access to health care services for children, but to also meet them where they are — at school.”