SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 28, 2014

Officials push for expert medical staff at high school

(Continued)

Meanwhile, 16 percent of students reported “seriously considering suicide” in the past year.

The Peabody center will be run by the nonprofit organization North Shore Community Health Inc., which operates a teen health center at Salem High School and family clinics in Peabody, Salem and Gloucester.

Typical services offered at family centers are primary healthcare, physicals, reproductive services, nutrition counseling, health education, assessment and treatment of acute problems, workshops and referrals.

The Peabody center would occupy about 900 square feet where the school’s wood shop is currently located and employ a behavioral counselor, a pediatric nurse practitioner and a medical assistant. There would be a waiting room, reception area and exam room with quick access to an ambulance from the service road behind that portion of the building.

Maggie Brennan, the CEO of NSCHI, said the capital expense for the project is $190,000, and operational costs will be about $160,000 annually.

The startup costs and first two years of operation have already been covered with an $86,000 federal grant and contributions from the J.B. Thomas — Lahey Foundation ($100,000), Boston Children’s Hospital ($160,000) and the McCarthy Foundation ($10,000).

Mayor Ted Bettencourt said all indications are that those funding sources will continue. Cameron noted that there’s a five-year commitment for Peabody attached to the Lahey funding.

Brennan said NSCHI anticipates health insurance reimbursements will cover any gap in funding, but the organization may turn to fundraising or other internal resources if necessary.

She also said health services are delivered to students regardless of their ability to pay. If students aren’t insured, NSCHI assists them or their families to identify and enroll in insurance programs.

The health center is slated to open by the end of October.

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, jcastelluccio@salemnews.com or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.

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