PORT ANGELES — The North Olympic Mobile Health Clinic has completed its first full year serving students in the Port Angeles School District and information gathered from visits will help NOHN and the district make decisions regarding care delivery and services in the upcoming school year.
The 38-foot-long blue and white motorhome outfitted with an examination room and small private room for behavioral health sessions made regular scheduled visits to all five of the district’s elementary schools, Stevens Middle School, Port Angeles High School and Lincoln High School.
It also served students enrolled in the school district’s online Seaview Academy.
Students who accessed care at the mobile health clinic most often sought out behavioral health services. About 97 percent of visits — or 392 out of a total 404 visits — were for behavioral health.
Of the 87 total students who visited the mobile health clinic, just 12 — or 14 percent — sought out primary care for things like sport physicals, allergies, a sinus infection, eczema, reproductive health, family planning and well-child checks.
To help accommodate the demand for behavioral health services, NOHN leveraged the telehealth program it operates and staffs with NOHN practioners. Telehealth could expand NOHN’s ability to easily and efficiently deliver more behavioral and primary care services to students, said NOHN CEO Mike Maxwell in an email.
“Patients find these audio/visual telehealth counseling visits convenient and effective,” Maxwell said.
The high demand for behavioral services was not surprising, because NOHN had been tracking the visits, Maxwell said, but that did not necessarily mean the relatively low demand for primary care in comparison indicated an absence of interest.
“We expect there is more need/potential for medical services to be delivered,” Maxwell said. “But [we] think the primary focus is on the urgency of the behavioral needs and students and families may not be taking advantage of the other services.”
The mobile health clinic was funded with a $3.3 million grant from the United Health Foundation. The grant helps fund two full-time family navigators with the district who assist students and parents in finding, accessing and paying for a range of medical, behavioral and social services. The partnership between NOHN and PASD will run through June 30, 2024.
Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at email@example.com.