Houston Independent School District administration is recommending to the school board that on-site health clinics be opened for employees, as well as to use funds provided to the district by the late Delores K. Mosk to provide dental sealants to 500 second-grade students. The funds will be used to supplement Project Saving Smiles.
The HISD board will vote on these measures at the regular board meeting Feb. 12, at 5 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St.
Five vendors submitted proposals to run the clinics, and staff has recommended Concentra after on-site visits to the finalists, Concentra and HealthSTAT. The annual cost for the program in $2,873,177, and will be funded by the Health Insurance Internal Service Fund. Initial costs to set up the clinics will not exceed $530,000.
On-site clinic hours will average 40 per week, 48 weeks per year, and clinic hours will vary from location to location based on interest of the employees in the area. All HISD employees enrolled on one of the district’s four HISD Aetna medical plans can utilize the clinics at no cost. Benefits eligible employees not enrolled in a district medical plan as well as crossing guards can utilize the clinics for a $25 co-pay for preventive, primary and urgent care and a $10 co-pay for health coaching. All active employees will be able to have an annual health screening and flu shot at no cost, and the clinics will offer bus driver physicals for $5. The clinics will offer referrals to community physicians and specialists when outside care is required.
“The district continues to focus on health initiatives that will improve our employees’ access to medical services and help improve the overall health and productivity of our employees, while reducing absenteeism,” said HISD Chief Financial Officer Melinda Garrett. Proposed clinic staffing will include two physicians, five nurse practitioners/physician assistants (one at each location), five medical assistants (one at each location), and two health and wellness specialists (floating).
The Dental Division of the City of Houston, Department of Health and Human Services, has implemented Project Saving Smiles, a program to provide dental screening, dental sealants, fluoride varnish, and oral health education free of charge to second graders who are enrolled in the free or reduced-price lunch program and who have written parental consent.
Approximately 1,500 HISD students have used or will use Project Saving Smiles’ services this school year. Bequeathed funds from the late Mosk will be used to provide dental services to an additional 500 second-grade students.
“We are very grateful for the bequest of Dr. Dolores K. Most,” said Evelyn Henry, Health and Medical Services Manager at HISD. “Dental sealants provide valuable protection for the teeth of our students in a very cost effective way. Dental sealants may prevent the need for costly repairs and restorations, prevent potential pain and suffering from tooth decay, and positively promote school attendance.”