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Madigan opens school-based clinic at Rogers High School

Military dependents receiving care will spend less time away from classroom

Representatives of Madigan Army Medical Center and the Puyallup School District celebrate the ribbon cutting for the new Rogers High School clinic Jan. 20. Photo credit: Andrew Fickes

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Madigan Army Medical Center is once again expanding its reach into Pierce County school districts by adding a seventh adolescent school-based health clinic that will serve military dependents.

On Jan. 22, Madigan opened its seventh satellite clinic at Rogers High School in the Puyallup School District. Its other six satellite clinics are in the Steilacoom and Clover Park school districts. The first two opened in 2012 in the Steilacoom School District, followed by two in the Clover Park School District in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Madigan received a $120,000 System for Health grant from the Army Medical Command last fall to help expand the program. With the support of the grant, two more clinics opened in the Clover Park School District earlier this month, followed by the newest clinic to open at Rogers.

Madigan approached the Puyallup School District last summer to ask if they would be interested in partnering.

At a ribbon cutting to unveil the new clinic Wednesday, Jan. 20, Tim Yeomans, the superintendent of Puyallup schools, said the partnership will help to bring medical care to military students at Rogers without delay. According to an Impact Aid Study done by the school, more than 200 families served by Rogers have been determined to be connected to the military.

"Thank you to (Dr.) Lt. Colonel Keith Lemmon for initiating this contact," Yeomans said. "We feel blessed that you're here and we are partners. We're looking forward to the growth of this school-based health center."

Colonel Michael Place, commander of Madigan Army Medical Center, said the clinics aspire to be a wellness platform to make it easier to get healthcare. No longer, he said, will students have to leave school and spend a half-day traveling to a clinic and waiting in a waiting room before receiving care. Parents won't have to be pulled away from work.

"The classroom is now the waiting room," Place said.

Kathy Ehman, the chief special services officer for the Puyallup School District, said the benefits to student learning and success in the classroom is tremendous.

"Kids don't miss school to receive service," Ehman said. "The ability to give students access removes that barrier and helps them to advance them in their studies and graduate on time. There is less time away from the classroom."

The clinic at Rogers will be available to students for a half-day every other Friday. It will be staffed with a doctor and nurse from the Madigan-Puyallup Community Medical Home at the Sunrise Village Center that serves military families on South Hill.

The type of care that will be provided to military dependents includes physical exams, immunizations, acute and chronic wellness management, sports injury and concussion management, nutrition and weight counseling, and screening for emotional and behavioral health concerns. All a military dependent student needs to receive care is parent consent.

"We do psycho-social screenings to make sure they're doing okay socially and mentally," said Lemmon, who supervises the adolescent school-based health clinics. "Lots of parents are deployed and kids take on more of an adult role."

Lemmon said if it's determined that a student needs additional counseling for a mental health condition, then the student is referred to a specialist at either Madigan or the Madigan-Puyallup Community Medical Home on South Hill.

Place told school district administrators that Madigan appreciated the opportunity to innovate with them.

"We recognize that you're serving with us," Place said.

Yeomans said the Puyallup School District Board of Directors is very emphatic when it comes to building partnerships that support advancing healthcare and education for students.

"Partnerships are in the forefront," he said.

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