LIMA — St. Rita’s Health Partners and Bath schools celebrated the recent opening of the Mercy Health-Bath Local School Health Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.
Located in the community building near the school district’s bus garage, the center will provide health care services for students, teachers, administrators and the entire Bath community.
“It’s all about opening up more access points for people to get the care they need,” said Mindy Wise, director of occupational health at St. Rita’s.
Physicians at the health center will provide sports physicals, treat chronic and acute illnesses such as common colds and bronchitis, and offer immunizations. The center accepts walk-ins as well as scheduled appointments.
Angela Courtney, a family nurse practitioner, and Ben Schroeder, a licensed practical nurse, will work at the center three days a week throughout the entire year.
Courtney said the health center has stayed busy since it opened in March.
“The need is definitely there, and we’re already starting to see returning patients,” Courtney said. “We’re seeing a lot of positive feedback.”
Courtney added that, in addition to providing easier access to care for a rural area, the health center offers another option for patients who aren’t able to see a family doctor.
“We are not in the place of a family doctor, but what we’re trying to do is make it easy for the community to have access to health care if they can’t get into their family doctor, or if they don’t have a family doctor,” she said. “If they need to see someone and it can’t wait until the next day, that’s what we’re here for.”
Courtney said if an individual does not have a family doctor, the staff will try to connect them with one.
Wise said they accept almost all insurance plans, and that they have a “generous self-pay policy” for those without insurance.
“If they are self-pay, the hospital will work with them to possibly set up some payment plans,” Wise said. “We want to make it as accessible to everyone we possibly can.”
Tim McKinney, vice president of the Bath school board, said another advantage is that students will likely miss less school, as they only have to walk a few yards to the clinic.
“I love the fact that if kids need care, they can do it here and go right back to school,” McKinney said.
The Mercy Health-Bath Local School Health Center is open 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays. For details, call 567-940-1670.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima