Trust awards $1 million to expand school-based health centers

Filed under: Health Care |

The Colorado Trust has pledged $1 million to the state’s secondary schools to boost school-based health centers.
The grant will be awarded to communities through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The money will be used for direct services at the centers. An additional $250,000 will support a School Health Leadership Task Force to create a comprehensive plan to strengthen the system of integrated school health.
The centers offer primary care services such as physical exams and immunizations, but also outpatient mental health and substance abuse help. The centers also provide preventive dental exams as well as health education.
Nationwide, there are 1,700 school-based health centers. Colorado has 40 school-based health centers in 17 school districts. The money will allow more schools to include the centers in their districts.
In El Paso County, only one school has a clinic: Carmel Middle School in Harrison District 2, said Bob Guernsey, director of the school-based health center program at the state’s department of health.
School districts can call Guernsey at (303) 692-2377 for information about how to apply for grant money to set up a school-based center.
“We are very interested in having more districts gain these clinics,” he said. “They do very important work: signing children up for the child’s health insurance program and providing basic medical care.”
School District 11 is interested in partnering with the SET Family Medical Clinics to provide clinics for some of its schools, said spokeswoman Elaine Naleski. SET also provides the clinic at Carmel Middle School, she said.
For more information about the grants, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Web site at www.cdphe.state.co.us.

Air quality site

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has launched a Web site where consumers can learn about high pollution advisories — which are common during the winter months.
Advisories are issued daily at 4 p.m. at coloradoairquality.info. and remain in effect for 24 hours. Users also can find real-time air quality information at the site.
The department’s air pollution control division will continue to maintain two phone lines: (303) 758-4848 and (303) 782-0211 to provide recorded air quality information. The information is updated daily.
Internet users can select options that display bar and line graphs for specific air pollutants to determine trends at a given reporting site, and access reports that compare air pollution levels site to site.
The division issues red or blue air pollution advisories depending on conditions until March 31. Red advisories indicate that conditions could lead to air pollution levels above federal or state standards, trigger mandatory residential burning restrictions and voluntary driving reductions. Blue advisories require no public action, but residents are urged to consider using alternate modes of transportation whenever possible.
The most troublesome wintertime pollutants are carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Carbon monoxide is produced during the incomplete combustion of organic fuels.
Last winter, 104 blue and 45 red advisories were issued during the five-month season. The previous winter, 95 blue and 57 red advisories were issued.

Lack of long-term coverage

Many baby boomers erroneously believe that they have long-term care coverage — and just as many are mistaken about who pays for it.
That’s according to a survey conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans, which found that most of the aging population isn’t factoring in expenses for long-term care into their retirement plans.
The survey showed that 30 percent of respondents believe that they have long-term coverage, but only about 5.2 million Americans are covered by long-term care insurance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Even if all those covered were baby boomers — which they are not — that would only account for 6.6 percent of the baby boomer population.
Those figures show that 25 percent of the boomer population mistakenly believes they are covered by long-term care expenses.
A majority of baby boomers believes Medicare or other health insurance will pay for long-term care. But Medicare only begins coverage once a patient qualifies.
Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.