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MMCSD Considers School Health Center Idea

Mount Markham Central School District will explore the possibility of setting up a School Based Health Center.

At last week’s MMCS Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Joe D’Apice said he received a call from someone at Bassett Medical Center. The person inquired whether Mount Markham would be interested in a School Based Health Center like the ones Bassett runs in other districts.

D’Apice said in discussions with staff members such a health center comes up frequently as a wish list item. His previous district, Richfield Springs, has done and D’Apice said it was amazing how it worked.

“It’s a doctor’s office plus a lot more,’’ he said. A health center can do more than the school nurse is allowed, acting more like a primary care office.

In addition, a School Based Health Center includes dental service. “Most importantly, there is a mental health component,’’ D’Apice said. “It’s a three-for-one special.’’

Board members had a general discussion about the idea, with the consensus to go forward to see if it’s a good fit for the District. D’Apice will invite Bassett representatives to make a presentation at an upcoming meeting.

If done, the District would pick up the cost to renovate the space necessary to meet medical standards. D’Apice said the initial thought is to have one health center serving all three school buildings.

Those renovations typically cost between $300,000 and $350,000. Done as a Capital Project, the District would receive 95 percent of that back in state aid.

After that the District covers up to three years of costs to the provider until the SBHC can be self-sufficient. “It’s a great concept,’’ he said. “It’s been successful in other places. There’s no cost to students.’’

Board members recalled that 10-12 years ago the District was on the cusp of putting in a School Based Health Center. Concerns that a health center would take patients away from a local physician’s assistant office stalled the effort.

Board member Thomas Huxtable said such centers have proved to do well in neighboring districts. He said back in the first go-round of the idea, there was thoughts that Bassett was in competition for other hospitals for the center.

Huxtable said if any others were interested they had the last 10 to 15 years to come forward…


The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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