Features: Staff writer Channing Icenogle tells us everything you need to about East’s new health clinic.
If you’ve ever walked into East High School, you have probably noticed how different it is from any other high school in DPS. Its massive student body, diverse cultural atmosphere and unique administration, set it apart from other schools. Often times, because of this variety in people, different accommodations are needed to assist the student body. One student may need a sports physical, but couldn’t have their parents take off work to take them to the doctor. Another student may be struggling with their mental health issues, but can’t afford regular treatment.
Situations like these occur all the time at East. So it was brought to the attention of authorities, like Principal John Youngquist, who brought a school-based Denver Health Clinic to East High School. Although the clinic has been available since the beginning of the school year, some students hesitate to use it, mainly due to lack of knowledge about the services offered. The Spotlight reporters went to the clinic and spoke to its many supporters to find out more about why it’s here at East, and what it can really do for the student population.
Located in the back hallway on the first floor, the clinic is located in what was previously the Nurses Office. The Clinic is available to all Denver Public Schools students and staff during regular school hours (7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m).
Currently, to be treated at the clinic you must first complete a packet to provide information on conditions, allergies, insurance and family to allow for the best possible care. To access the services, the student or staff member must schedule an appointment online or in office for a time that works best for their schedule. Emergency walk-ins are welcome, but for specific concerns or consultations, it is best if an appointment is made in advance. The clinic is managed and funded by Denver Health, allowing the fully-trained medical staff to offer a variety of services including: sports physicals, vaccinations, STD testing, psychological counseling, drug and alcohol abuse prevention counseling, birth control and much more.
When talking to the clinic’s provider at East, The Spotlight was able to help identify some possible concerns that may arise when students want to use the clinic. One of the main concerns was about confidentiality.
“At the clinic, we ensure the privacy of all students by keeping confidential files separate from the regular student treatment. Generally when a student comes to the clinic, the services they receive are paid for by their insurance, they provide on the initial waiver form. But, for students who wish to keep their treatment confidential, the treatment will not be charged to insurance to ensure maximum privacy for the student. The only exception to the confidentiality policy is if you are hurting yourself or others, and if someone is hurting you. Otherwise anything asked to be confidential will remain confidential,” stated the provider Sharon Kobak.
Another common misconception was payment for services. “Students who have insurance, unless they wish to remain confidential, will use that as their form of payment. There is no co-pay when using the clinic. For students who don’t have insurance, treatments will be covered by Denver Health and funding. Students will never have to pay for any services out of pocket,” Kobak said.
So, visiting the Clinic for any services has no cost.
“Students should know that the school nurse is a separate service from the clinic, and cannot provide the same treatments and medications that we can provide here.” At the clinic, they are equipped with a pharmacy, where they can prescribe medications when needed. “I think it’s important that students fill out the necessary forms now so if the need ever arises they are able to use our services,” Kobak stated.
A Little Insight
Although some students are already using the clinic, some are questioning why we have it and where it came from. To answer these questions, The Spotlight interviewed Youngquist about the process of bringing the clinic to our school.
“There was some pushback at first when trying to bring in the clinic, mostly because of trouble finding if our school was a good candidate and money. On average, the clinic will cost approximately $1 million to keep it running, but we think that it will be worth it to help our students,” Youngquist stated.
The clinic, thanks to Denver Health and DPS funding, is able to stay open the entire school year. Youngquist talked about his idea of students using the clinic, “I don’t really think it’s targeted towards a specific group of students. Some students will use it for things like sports physicals, and others might use it for counseling. I think that it will hopefully be used in a variety of ways, by many different student demographics.” The overall goal for the clinic this year for it to be used by all students, in one way or another.
Need to make an appointment? Call 720-423-8378, go online to DenverHealth.org/SBHC or visit their office on the first floor. It is necessary that students and faculty complete their paperwork in advance.