Nonprofit clinics may be on campuses

Students at three South County high schools might have access to routine medical services on campus starting in January as part of a partnership between a local chain of nonprofit clinics and the Lucia Mar district.

Under a deal approved by the school board in June, Community Health Centers of the Central Coast will provide health care services at Arroyo Grande, Nipomo and Lopez high schools at no charge to the Lucia Mar Unified School District.

The services would include a nurse practitioner who would perform health exams, immunizations, treatment for minor injuries and physicals. A nutritionist would also be available for diabetes education and weight management groups, according to district Nurse Linda Hogoboom.

Services were originally scheduled to start this fall, but school district officials were unable to get on-site clinics launched before the start of the academic year.

They hope to have CHC services available by January.

Hogoboom said that Lucia Mar is looking to have a licensed social worker who could provide counseling and possibly a mobile dental clinic.

The health center services would be separate from an on-site school nurse, Hogoboom said. She described CHC as being a complement to the school nurse’s office by taking on primary care services.

The services would require parent permission slips to bill private insurance or other health coverage such as Healthy Families or Medi-Cal, Hogoboom said.

It’s unclear at this point whether any student would be turned away for services even if he or she did not have some type of health coverage or ability to pay.

John Kahn, medical director at CHC, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The county Board of Supervisors in August cut $1.4 million in funding for the CHC, which resulted in limited access and eliminated weekend hours at two locations.

Supervisors reduced its funding to CHC to $3.4 million from $4.8 million. The move was designed to help offset a looming $6.1 million reduction facing the county’s Health Agency.