CCPS, Bluegrass Community Health Center open school clinic

Published 7:00 am Monday, September 27, 2021

Bluegrass Community Health Center and Clark County Public Schools held a ribbon-cutting to mark the grand opening of BCHC Clark County Schools Clinic on Friday.

The clinic shares a building with the Phoenix Academy located at 100 Vaught Road, and is the product of a partnership that started in the spring.

“We looked at Clark County as a site where we thought they could benefit from having a school-based clinic,” said BCHC CEO Dr. Steven Wrightson. “So when we approached the school system in the spring, they were very excited about that potential partnership.”

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BCHC was founded in 2001 with a federal grant to serve local migrant farmworkers and currently treats patients across eight counties in central Kentucky.

“We help provide services to vulnerable populations; people that otherwise are underserved, uninsured or underinsured that have difficulty accessing healthcare,” Wrightson said.

School children are especially vulnerable if they don’t receive proper vaccination against childhood illnesses.

“Members of the school system let us know this right away, that they have a problem getting their children adequately immunized against contagious diseases,” Wrightson said. “That’s a problem because they may be susceptible to things like flu or measles.”

Wrightson said the vaccination requirements for students to attend school often “puts a lot of difficulty on parents and families” to find places to provide immunization, so having a clinic within the school district will help alleviate that problem.

Besides immunizations, the clinic will offer full primary care for students, their extended family members and district personnel from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We’ll have a nurse practitioner who can offer the full gamut of primary care, including well-child checks, and we are also offering mental health services,” said Julie Perry, BCHC’s chief medical officer.

Perry said the cost of services is “income-based” and that the clinic accepts “most major insurances.”

Tara Cruse, the clinic’s nurse practitioner, has worked in the medical field for 23 years, including 11 working for CCPS.

“This is my heart, and this is my dream,” she said. “To be able to provide primary care to staff and students of Clark County is a huge deal to me.”

Cruse said the clinic will take a holistic approach to treating its patients.

“Holistic care is when we take care of the whole patient,” Cruse said. “We don’t only focus on one thing; we can focus on primary care, behavioral health, preventative care – all aspects of medical care.”

Clark County Public Schools Superintendent Molly McComas said the clinic will benefit students and parents alike.

“It removes another barrier [to healthcare], especially if a parent is struggling with trying to take another day off of work to take their child to the doctor the next day if they can’t get in that day,” McComas said. “So this is really going to help keep kids in school.”

To schedule an appointment, call 859-977-7492.