Baltimore's school-based health centers help curb pediatric ER visits: 6 things to know

School-based health centers in Baltimore are working to keep kids out of emergency rooms by having providers available each day who promote healthy living and treat chronic illnesses, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Here are six things to know.

1. The health centers are part of The Rales Center, which was established as a program of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Children's Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

2. The on-site health clinics are staffed by a pediatrician, a nurse practitioner, two nurses and a part-time assistant.

3. The staff provides vision exams, asthma screenings, vaccinations and other primary care services. Students can come as walk-ins to see the school nurses on a regular basis and be quickly referred to the clinic's pediatrician if the nurse identifies a serious issue. 

4. The KIPP Harmony Academy in North Baltimore opened its school-based health center in 2015 with a $5 million, five-year grant from the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation.

5. The school saw a 23 percent drop in chronic absenteeism among students who have asthma and a 30 percent drop among students with ADHD in its first two years of operation.

6. As of December, the center helped students avoid 177 visits to the emergency department, according to school nurse Katherine Bissett, BSN.  

More articles on EDs: 
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Hurricane Harvey area patients struggle to get ER care as law prohibits Medicare coverage
Colorado lawmakers propose bill to curb surprise freestanding ER costs

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