BELMONT — Beginning this fall, Mobile Telemed of Buffalo will provide students, faculty and staff AT at Genesee Valley Central School medical and mental health services.

The partnership is part of the District’s Full Service Community Schools initiative that includes school-based health services that aren’t available or easily accessible in the district.

Mobile Telemed will offer two programs: Telemedicine and Telepsychiatry.

The Telemedicine unit will be located in a private exam room in the school where trained school nurses use Bluetooth technology and medical instruments to transmit a student’s vital statistics and symptoms to the Mobile Telemed doctor. Nurses can examine a patient’s ears, nose, throat and listen to their heart and lungs.

Rashes and skin abnormalities can be detected with a dermascope and a heart rate can be measured with an electrocardiogram (EKG). Rapid strep tests, flu swabs and urine analysis can also be done in the school-based program.

Mobile TeleMed has established technology that offers immediate access to more than 35 medical providers in areas of family medicine, cardiology, dermatology, nutrition, pharmacy, geriatric care and more.

“Mobile Telemed is excited to partner with Genesee Valley on this initiative,” said Brian Przybysz, vice president of business development at Mobile Telemed. “Our ability to connect students to medical providers, at the time they need it, will allow students better access to medical care and more efficient treatment of medical issues, which will help them either remain in school or begin treatment for a quicker return to the classroom.”

Przybysz said providers can order lab tests, prescribe medications and work with the school nursing staff as a complement to local medical providers.

“Our Telepsych services will bring much needed care in the ever-growing field of mental health,” he said.

The school-based program will not replace local medical and mental health resources, but will enhance existing capabilities and bring access to healthcare services where students and staff spend the majority of their time. The project is designed to help residents of Allegany County get services where many barriers are in the way, especially transportation, time and access to providers.

Psychiatry services, led by Dr. Aimee DiPasqua, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, will help reduce parents’ work leave, decrease children’s absences from school and increases their attendance at psychiatry appointments, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Initial consultations will be held in a private room at the school where the student, parent and DiPasqua will discuss a treatment plan. Comprehensive services could include psychiatry, medication management and therapy. Remote services would continue thereafter.

The school-based health services concept began with a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission in 2017 to develop an onsite dental program and improve overall health awareness through a partnership with the Allegany County Department of Health. Reallocated funds from that project provided the funding to launch the medical and psychiatric program under Mobile Telemed.

“The teachers and administrators at Genesee Valley have long recognized the needs of our students and community beyond the academic instruction we were designed to provide,” said the school district’s superintendent, Dr. Brian Schmitt. “We have been thoughtful and vigilant about putting programming in place that would support our students and families to help them succeed.” Healthcare services are an integral piece to enable overall health and academic success, Schmitt said.

“We have the capacity as a full-service community school to facilitate that need,” he said. “We are looking forward to seeing the difference it makes.”

Parents or legal guardians must complete an enrollment packet for their children to receive services during school hours through the project. All major insurance plans are accepted by Mobile Telemed. Parents are responsible for insurance copays, prescriptions, lab work and x-rays.

For more information about the Telehealth program, contact Genesee Valley’s wellness director, Anne Campbell at (585) 268-7900 or acampbell@genvalley.org.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)

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