Services at Bassett School-Based Health Centers
Comprehensive Physical Examinations
The State Education Department of New York mandates that every student in school have on file, at their school, a copy of a current physical examination, upon entry to a school and at 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 10th grades. A physical examination is also required for participation in interscholastic athletics. These "physical exams," "sports physicals," or "annual exams," vary in complexity and quality depending on the provider and the school. Many parents will remember these as very brief and rather impersonal.
A comprehensive physical examination (emphasis on comprehensive) is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children nearly every year of their lives. A comprehensive physical examination at the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) will be performed in a private, confidential setting by either the Nurse Practitioner or Physician. Parents are welcome to accompany their child or adolescent. It is important to note that all physical exams done at the SBHC regardless of purpose, are "comprehensive physical examinations." It will include a comprehensive health history, physical exam, health guidance, and if indicated, on-site laboratory testing. In most cases, if an "annual exam" or comprehensive physical exam is performed the results can be used for one year for a variety of purposes (camp, working papers...). Comprehensive physical examinations performed at the SBHC will be billed to the students' health insurance if they are enrolled in the SBHC, as with all other services provided by the SBHC. There will be no out-of-pocket cost to parents. If a student is not enrolled in the SBHC they may still have their "annual exam" performed by the nurse practitioner at no charge, since the SBHC serves as the "school doctor."
Parents must be aware of their health insurance rules. It is not unusual for insurance companies to pay for only one comprehensive physical examination per year. If your child or adolescent has had a physical exam at the SBHC and then a few months later in the same calendar year has another exam, some insurances will not pay for the second exam. It is important that parents are familiar with their health insurance plans to avoid potentially unnecessary out-of-pocket costs.
It would be an unusual situation that a student would need more than one comprehensive physical examination per year regardless of where it is performed. A private provider's "annual exam" may very well meet the New York State requirements. Please feel free to contact your child's school nurse or the SBHC staff with any questions.
Chris Kjolhede, MD, MPH
Comprehensive Health Care
Comprehensive health care includes:
- Diagnosis and treatment of acute illness (sore throats, stomach aches, rashes, sprains, etc.)
- Chronic illness (asthma, diabetes, etc.)
- Reproductive health care (reproductive health education, over-the-counter and prescription contraceptives and treatment of STDs)
Preventive Dental Services
Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH) offer preventive dental services at some School-Based Health Centers.
Using portable equipment, the Dental Hygienists deliver the following services on-site:
- Dental "cleanings"
- Sealant placement - coating placed on chewing surfaces to protect permanent teeth
- Fluoride application
- Oral Hygiene instruction - tooth brushing, flossing, and healthy eating
- Dental Care Management - assistance with finding a dentist, insurance, and appointments
- Classroom education
- Our goal is to help your child have a positive experience receiving dental care and to help achieve total dental health. For more information, call your School-Based Health Center.
Mental Health Services
Every Bassett School-Based Health Center has a mental health worker as part of the health care team. All of the School-Based mental health workers are clinical social workers who have a wealth of experience working with children, teens, parents, caregivers, and families. We are pleased to offer our services - which may be a consultation (which can be a visit or two, or ongoing counseling). Ongoing counseling may be short term (a few sessions) or longer term (a number of weeks or months). The ongoing service that we provide is called psychotherapy (also known as counseling).
There are many ways that working with a mental health worker can be helpful. A parent may be concerned that their child is depressed (sad) or anxious (worried/fearful), or they may be concerned that their child is having behavioral difficulties in school. A child or teen may be feeling sad or worried about something. There can be an event that has occurred at home that a child or teen needs to talk about with someone. The mental health worker can help to provide support and an evaluation and together with the other members of the School-Based Health team can create a plan to help students to feel better. Our services are now available to students on a year-round basis; however, as we are located in the schools, our hours change when school is not in session.
We would like you to know that if you have an emergency, you can always call 911 and for a mental health emergency during daytime hours at your local county mental health center. In the evenings (after typical school and business hours) and on weekends, you can call 911 or (877) 369-6699.