Bucksport Regional Health Center, in collaboration with the Ellsworth High School and Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC), has received funding from the State of Maine Department of Education to start a School-Based Health Center (SBHC) at the Ellsworth High School, beginning November 1, 2022, with a plan to be fully operational January 1, 2023.
Family Nurse Practitioner, Shannon Curtis will provide medical services four mornings a week and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker will be at the SBHC five afternoons per week.
“The Ellsworth School Department is deeply committed to taking care of the whole child. The partnership created with The Bucksport Regional Health Center will bring much needed convenient access to health services for Ellsworth students and staff,” said Amy J. Boles, assistant superintendent and director of Hancock County Technical Center.
Ellsworth School District provides secondary education at Ellsworth High School for 12 surrounding rural towns, including Sedgewick, Aurora, Mariaville, Tremont, Surrey, Lamoine, Hancock, Otis, Blue Hill, Dedham, Penobscot and Brooklin. Other outlying high schools including Bucksport, George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Mt. Desert Island, Deer Isle/Stonington, and Sumner, send their students to the Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC), which is part of the Ellsworth School District and, for purposes of this SBHC, will be considered part of the Ellsworth High School student population.
“The School-Based Health Center will be available to all Ellsworth School District students in grades 7-12 to address their medical and behavioral health needs, with the future intention of providing dental health services. Our goal is to increase access to needed services that students may not seek otherwise,” said Carol Carew, CEO, Bucksport Regional Health Center. “This is a project we have wanted to do for a long time. Providing children with regular medical care sets them up to healthier adults as they come to understand the importance of prioritizing their health.”
The SBHC will work with the current school nursing services. The school nurse will be an important contributor to the planning, outreach, implementation, and dynamic evaluation of clinic services, as well as a valued member of the SBHC Advisory Committee, which is composed of school staff and administration, clinical staff on the project, students and parents and BRHC administrative staff. The program will also have a Youth Advisory Board that will engage students in the SBHC process and will help SBHC staff focus on the students’ perceived health needs and ensure that feedback is addressed on all aspects of SBHC services.
“Research is very clear that poor health results in lower educational attainment for students, affecting classroom attitudes and behavior which are all critical factors of academic achievement,” added Boles. “The SBHC will allow us the opportunity to address issues in partnership with families and BRHC.”
BRHC will receive $81,500 annually for two years from the grant mainly to cover the SBHC operational expenses. BRHC will collect health insurance information from students enrolling for clinical services, then bill insurances for the services rendered. The grant has $10,000 to be applied to the renovation of the space which will be handled by the Ellsworth School District.