Healthy students perform better in school and have better attendance. In an effort to improve and enhance the accessibility, availability, and affordability of quality health care in east Tennessee, Rural Health Services Consortium, Inc. and Johnson County Schools have partnered to provide a medical mobile unit for students, their families, and school staff.
Many rural communities have severe medical professional shortages, explained Wendy Henley, RN, Health Services Coordinator with Johnson County Schools. In December of last year, we were contacted by the CEO of Rural Health Services Consortium, Inc. (RHSC), who operates the Mountain City Medical Center on Oak Street here. She asked if the school system would be interested in having access to a mobile health unit.
RHSC, a private, non-profit corporation founded in 1985, is geared towards providing affordable, quality healthcare to all who seek medical treatment in the Northeast Tennessee area. Since the mid-1980s, the Consortium has grown to over 170 full-time employees, 27 part-time employees serving twelve centers in eight counties. RHSC is made up of 11 medical clinics, three permanent school-based clinics, and now two mobile medical units serving 22 schools in Hawkins and Johnson counties.
We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with RHSC to provide convenient medical services to our students, faculty and parents on the Mobile Unit, said Henley. It has been something we have needed for many years, and we hope to have continued success.
The Johnson County mobile unit, which officially opened September 19th and is staffed by Michele L Goodbread PAC and Kristy Bishop RN, employees of RHSC, rotates to schools within Johnson County throughout the week offering a wide array of services including physical exams for sports, Department of Transportation physicals, TennCare physicals, etc. According to Goodbread, the mobile clinic performs well-child exams and treats acute infections. Oral medications will be called to the preferred pharmacy, if needed, she explained.
Since opening its door early in the school year, Goodbread and Bishop have served well over 100 patients in Johnson County at the mobile clinic. We are here first and foremost for the students of the Johnson County School System, said Goodbread. Qualified patients of the mobile unit include any student of the Johnson County School System, their parents, their siblings over the age of three, and any paid employee of the Johnson County School System. The clinic does not, however, manage chronic diseases such as heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, etc and encourages patients to continue to have regular lab work, womens healthcare and medication refills provided by their primary care provider.
The mobile health unit does accept most health insurance plans and they also accept qualified patients without any health insurance by providing an income-based, sliding scale fee.
We have received encouraging feedback from patients who are grateful for the convenience of our services at the Mobile Unit, said Goodbread. I think this is because we are so accessible, being at a different school each day.
All qualified adults should call the Mobile Unit at 930-4573 to schedule an appointment. Appointments should also be scheduled for well-child exams and/or vaccinations. A health information packet, which is available at each school and at the mobile unit, must be completed prior to being seen and a parent must be present during student physicals and when an injection, such as a vaccine, is given.
Johnson County Schools are very pleased to partner with Rural Health Services, said Morris Woodring, Director of Schools, To provide better health for our students and faculty.
Medical Mobile Unit Schedule
Closed on Snow days and School Holidays
Monday- Johnson County High School and Johnson County Middle School
Tuesday- Doe Elementary School
Wednesday- Shady Elementary School/Laurel Elementary School (Alternate Weeks)
Thursday- Roan Creek Elementary School
Friday- Mountain City Elementary School