Rock Hill health center to expand

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2022

Gets $197,161 in state funding

The Rock Hill School District is getting funds to expand their school-based health center towards mental health needs.

Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that $25.9 million will be awarded for 136 new or expanded school-based health centers around Ohio and that includes the Rock Hill School District health center, which will be getting $197,161.80 in funds.

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The clinic, which opened in August 2020, is run in partnership between the school district and the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization and is open to both students and the community. It offers family practice, dental and behavioral health services. The clinic operates like any other health center and bills through insurance plans and Medicaid.

Michael Kingery, site manager supervisor for the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO, said the funds will go towards increasing staff size to help with behavioral health.

“There is such a huge need for that in our communities now,” he said. “We are planning to use those grant dollars for some social workers and case managers to expand out the behavioral health services within the schools. I think it will really, really help… COVID has really exploded the amount of anxiety and depression among school students.”

Kingery said the CAO health center is blessed to work with a school system that is so open to it as Rock Hill is.

“They really see the need and they have so many difficult situations,” he said, mentioning there was a student who committed suicide within the past few years. “They are wanting to get on top of this and provide good services to their students and take care of the community as well.”

DeWine said in his announcement that studies have shown that health and wellness are interconnected.

“A student who is not healthy or who is chronically absent is not able to achieve their full potential,” DeWine said. “These partnerships between healthcare providers and schools supports the whole child and ensures that every child may realize their full potential.”

He said the school-based health initiatives help ensure students are in school, healthy and ready to learn through a school or district’s partnerships with health care providers and other community organizations. He added the clinics have emerged as effective models to improve student access to healthcare and have helped closed the gap for children in underserved communities.

Funding is being made available through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Additional funds are being made available through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund.

Management of construction and capital expenses will be coordinated in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Health.