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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Shadle Park, North Central open new in-school health clinics to expand healthcare access

School board member Mike Wiser, left, chats with Jeremy Rindy, a medical assistant with CHAS Health, on Tuesday during a tour of Shadle Park High School’s new school-based health center.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Students at Shadle Park and North Central high schools can now get their basic primary health care right inside their school.

Spokane Public Schools opened two new in-school health clinics in May aiming to expand health care access to students who may otherwise not get care.

Through a partnership with CHAS Health, the clinics provide students with physicals, cold and flu treatment, immunizations, testing for a range of illnesses, mental health services and anything else for which one might go to their primary care physician.

“This is yet another example of how we collaborate in our community and how we are better and stronger together,” Spokane Superintendent Adam Swinyard said Tuesday . “We have a public library inside of one of our public schools. We have health clinics inside of our schools. We share spaces, we share folders, we are better when we work together and collaborate.”

The two new health care providers join a similar clinic at Rogers High School, which opened in 2020. According to the school district, the CHAS Health at Rogers High School Clinic has served more than 650 individuals through 1,840 visits in the past 12 months.

CHAS Certified Physician Assistant Jeff Hayward said that the services provided in these school clinics meet the standard of any medical clinic.

“We are providing full family medicine services and mental health care. We’re connected with other resources, such as dental care and pharmacy. We’re collaborating with parents and staff. We’re bringing all the people together that care about these kids. Because when we break down barriers and we do innovation interventions, that’s when our kids get to shine,” Hayward said.

Each clinic cost approximately $300,000 to retrofit existing office space at the school. About half of the funds for the projects come from the City of Spokane. The rest is from the school district’s Annual Capital Project Funding, which draws on dollars from past bonds.

City funds originate from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, and are part of the city’s plan to combat the negative health reverberations still felt from the pandemic, said City Councilman Zack Zappone.

“Youth were really impacted by COVID and the time away from schools – both their behavior and their medical health,” he said. “So we reached out to the school board, which were interested in this partnership of matching funds to build and grow the medical care and behavioral health of our students.”

Zappone also noted the clinics should help parents who may not be able to take time away from work to take their child to the doctor.

“They’re able to leave the classroom for an hour or shorter, go to see the clinic, come back to class right away – rather than having to leave school, set up a doctor’s appointment, and maybe not come back to school the rest of the day,” he said.

The Spokane City Council on Monday approved an additional $200,000 toward the health clinic partnership with Spokane Public Schools as part of its last dollar allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act’s pandemic relief funds. The funding was a last -minute addition in an amendment advanced by Zappone, Council President Betsy Wilkerson and Councilman Paul Dillon.

As at Rogers, Shadle Park and North Central clinic hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round, except for federal holidays.

Spokesman-Review reporter Emry Dinman contributed to this report