It is time for Chattanooga to go “Back To School!” PHIC has decided that it would go back to school as well. The Coalition has been meeting for some time with Hamilton County Department of Education officials and local health providers about partnering to improve the health of Hamilton County’s children.
Hamilton County is challenged by pediatric asthma. Asthma is the number one reason children miss school. These absences are just the tip of the iceberg as many more children are distracted or are sleep deprived at school by the symptoms of their asthma. 42 of Hamilton County 71 schools have more asthmatic children than the state average. 10 schools have twice the state average.
PHIC is working in three ways to improve support for Hamilton Counties most at risk children. First, we are partnering with existing nursing to better treat asthma and communicate medication needs. Second, the department is looking into ways to provide care coordination for the moderate to severe asthmatics in county schools. Care coordination is the individual review of individual child’s medical needs and assist with any gaps in care. Last, a large community coalition is working to add telemedicine support to school nursing care and build comprehensive medical clinics at central schools in underserved areas.
PHIC looks forward to sharing more of the initial plans as they become finalized. Each neighborhood that would be served by the proposed clinics will need to assist in the planning of each specific clinic. The goal is to build the best comprehensive health clinics in the region that serve the neighborhood as precisely as they would like to be served.
It is an exciting time at the possibility that Chattanooga will soon have a tool to remove the barriers to academic success and a fully functional life that poor health now plays.