In Their Second Year of Operation, Mercy Health - Cincinnati's Three School-Based Clinics Are Busy Helping Students and Faculty Be Well

(CINCINNATI; October 1, 2014) – Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, quality, compassionate care in your neighborhood through its care network, announces that its three school-based health clinics in Cincinnati Public Schools are celebrating their second year in operation in anticipation of treating more students and staff than ever.

The clinics, which received funding from Interact for Health, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Mercy Health - Cincinnati’s parent company Mercy Health, benefit the communities they serve, in line with Mercy Health’s mission to improve community health.

During the clinics’ first year in operation, students and staff paid Family Nurse Practitioner Laura Huss 350 visits at the clinic at Mt. Washington School and 249 visits at the clinic at Silverton Paideia Academy. Family Nurse Practitioner Marilyn Lessing logged 148 visits at Pleasant Hill Academy clinic. 

The most common complaints the Family Nurse Practitioners treated in students were asthma, migraines, stomachaches and upper respiratory issues. For staff, the top complaint is upper respiratory issues.

Both nurses have success stories to share.

“A few children at school have experienced asthma attacks and I was able to treat them immediately and successfully with asthma medication,” says Huss. “Some children live more than 30 minutes from school and transportation can be very difficult for families. When an asthma attack occurs at school and a child does not have his or her inhaler or the inhaler they have does not resolve the attack, the school must call 911. In each case that I treated the child, that treatment prevented a costly trip to the emergency room.”

Lessing recalls a specific case involving a first grade boy with a history of asthma that he and his family were having trouble controlling:

“He was presenting nearly every day to school nurse with wheezing and distress. I saw him numerous times, giving him the immediate treatment he required. I then started him on maintenance medications and worked with his mother so that she understood the difference between rescue and maintenance medications and the symptoms to watch for that indicate that the asthma is not under control. By the end of the school year, the student had good control of his asthma and he reduced significantly his visits to the nurse.”

“In another specific incident, a new student came to the center for a sick visit, accompanied by her mother,” recalls Lessing. “They were new to the area and neither had a doctor. The mother was ill also and as a courtesy, I evaluated her. Mom revealed that she had been ‘feeling bad for a long time’ and admitted to weight loss and fatigue. Upon examination, I noticed that she had a very enlarged thyroid. I ordered lab work that revealed a thyroid issue and I was able to refer her on to a specialist for further evaluation.” 

"We know that children who don't feel well, don't learn well. The Mercy Health clinics are helping children at these schools promote healthy practices and minimize the impact of illness so that students can focus on learning," said Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Mary Ronan.

"School-based health centers keep students healthy and ready to learn, as last year’s results from the Mercy Health clinics demonstrate. Many children are still not receiving the healthcare they need and these clinics connect students and families directly to needed health services right at their school," said Dr. Marilyn Crumpton, Medical Director for School & Adolescent Health at Cincinnati Health Department.

“As a mission-based organization, Mercy Health is proud to share its resources to help keep children and the teachers and staff who care for them well,” said Dan Roth, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Mercy Health and President of Mercy Health Physicians. “We’ve located the clinics right in the schools to make healthcare easy for everyone at those schools. Our aim is to help keep kids healthy because healthy kids stay in school and do better in their studies.”

Family Nurse Practitioner Marilyn Lessing is on site in the clinic at Pleasant Hill Academy, an elementary school located at 1350 West North Bend Road, from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Family Nurse Practitioner Laura Huss is on site in a dedicated clinic space at both Mt. Washington School, an elementary school located at 1730 Mears Ave., and Silverton Paideia Academy, an elementary school located at 7451 Montgomery Road, from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. two days each week, rotating between schools on the fifth day.

The Family Nurse Practitioners can see both adults and children. They are available to provide medical care and referrals for dental care and other healthcare provider resources to students, teachers and staff. Mercy Health - Cincinnati partners with the Cincinnati Health Department to provide vaccinations on the days the family nurse practitioners offer physicals.