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Bassett's School-Based Health Program Celebrates 30 Years of Service to the Children of Central New Yor

Written By Editor on 11/30/22 | 11/30/22

Cooperstown, N.Y. – Bassett Healthcare Network announced today that it is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its School-Based Health (SBH) program. Its first site opened in 1992 at the Delaware Academy Central School, located in Delhi, New York. This marked the first collaboration between Bassett and a school district. Since then, Bassett’s SBH program has expanded to 21 sites in 17 school districts across four counties. More than 7,000 children are enrolled across the system, and Delhi’s site alone conducts between 2,000 and 2,500 visits per year.  

Bassett’s School-Based Health program is now the largest rural school-based health program in New York State. The program ensures easy access within schools to high-quality health care services for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. School-Based Health program services are available to all students regardless of income.

In rural central New York, many children live at or below the poverty level in communities where health care is not available. Children are among those least likely to receive routine health care, least likely to be insured, and most likely to require emergency medical service.

Recognizing this gap in health care coverage, Bassett built its School-Based Health program to deliver primary health services to as many students as possible. Being the first line of defense against avoidable hospital admissions, emergency room, and acute care visits, Bassett’s SBH centers provide consistent care for students and ensure that chronic issues are cared for properly.

“Bassett’s SBH model offers a unique opportunity for communities and school districts to meet the health needs of their underserved students by achieving the same vision – that all children will be healthy and ready to learn,” said Dr. Chris Kjolhede, MD, MPH, Co-Director of Bassett’s School-Based Health program. “Generous gifts help to keep the program rolling and innovative. For example, dental and behavioral health are now part of the program, bringing these essential services into our schools to serve children in need.”

Services provided by Bassett’s SBH centers include:

• Comprehensive physical examinations

• Acute care with diagnosis and treatment of common childhood illnesses

• Chronic care, for more long-term health problems, such as asthma, depression, and obesity

• Preventive and restorative dental services

• Mental health services are provided at every Bassett School-Based Health center. All SBH mental health clinicians have a wealth of experience working with children, teens, parents, caregivers, and families.

School-Based Health Centers and Telemedicine

“Bassett’s ongoing expansion of its telemedicine services across our rural area have made a tremendous and positive impact on our ability to serve regional students during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jane Hamilton, RN, School-Based Health Practice Manager.

“Now telemedicine is an essential complement to in-person SBH program services. Students utilize video visits to access a variety of pediatric specialties,” explained Hamilton. “This includes medication follow-ups for ADHD or depression; concussion clearance by a pediatrician for sports; ongoing management of chronic illnesses such as asthma; and psychotherapy provided by mental health clinicians.”

“We are extremely proud of our role in helping the children of our region achieve and maintain good health,” said Dr. Kjolhede. “Our outstanding, dedicated staff coupled with generous contributions and grants make this all possible. We are still growing, just like the kids we serve.” 

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