Rotary hears update on Telehealth

Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Dr. April Aldridge of The Decatur County Schools, accompanied by Christy Harrell, lead school nurse and Vickie Parker, school nurse at Elcan King Elementary, came to Rotary this week to give a report on the newly installed TeleHealth unit placed at Elcan King a week ago.

The unit was purchased by Bainbridge Rotary and is the fourth unit to go into the schools. Aldridge said they are already working and planning to get them installed in the remaining four schools and are wanting to get the word out as to how it works and the benefits involved.

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Parker described how she had prepared for the unit when she heard it was coming. She sent letters explaining the availability and usage to 475 homes of students. Of those 125 responded that they were interested, They were then sent enrollment packets and 21 packets, or 10 percent, were returned.

Parker said she already had three student visits last week and told of the thankfulness expressed by a parent who had just begun a new job and could not get time off to take the child to a doctor.

Parker said she does the prep work before calling the doctor, then schedules the doctor “appointment” via a computer connection to the doctor’s office.

Using equipment that magnifies the eyes and ears the physician can see what is going on, and can even detect the heart rate. The doctor can make a diagnosis and then prescribe medication if necessary, or make a referral to a specialist.

Parker expressed a great deal of excitement about the system, saying how helpful it is to children and families. “For a lot of our students, we are the only medical care they receive in a year.”

Parker then said the success of the program is an issue of parent understanding and trust to have a child seen that way. She offers any parent with concerns to come see the process.

Questions about the insurance and how payment is made were answered by Aldridge, who said all of the family insurance information is contained in the packet completed by the parents. When the student is seen by doctors at Memorial Pediatrics or others, the insurance is processed by them. “We don’t receive any payments,” clarified Aldridge. Likewise any prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy designated by the family and billed by the pharmacy.

Aldridge said there is a $20,000 cost for each system installed in a school, plus an annual service fee to stay in the network. “We will continue to write grants and get community funds to sustain the programs,” she vowed.

For those wanting to know more about the program, Aldridge recommends visiting the website: Click on For Parents and scroll down to TeleHealth.