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Cleveland County Public Health Center receives Child Health recognition award

SHELBY, NC - December 20, 2018 - The Cleveland County Public Health Center's Virtual Care Clinic at Graham Elementary School was recognized by the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation as an innovative child health program that has produced measurable, sustainable outcomes. This program is a partnership between Cleveland County, Atrium Health, Cleveland County Schools and Shelby Children's Clinic.
The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation recognized public health professionals for excellence and innovation in child health care, honoring them as part of its 2018 Child Health Recognition Awards program at the Fall Educational Conference of the North Carolina Public Health Association. Those honored with awards were selected from nominations submitted by colleagues and chosen by a selection committee of public health professionals.
"In 2016, the Board of County Commissioners identified areas of severe impact in the County and developed strategic objectives to improve community wellness," said County Commission Chair Susan Allen. "We developed a three-year pilot program involving 1,200 homes and one of the most pressing needs we found was access to pediatric medical care," Allen added.
"We found multiple barriers to health care that the Board of County Commissioners wanted to address including lack of transportation, difficulty navigating the health care system, and parental job commitments that conflict with routine doctor office hours," said Commissioner Johnny Hutchins. "Because of these barriers, children often experienced delayed medical care, increased school absences, and inappropriate utilization of the emergency room for primary care medical needs."
In recognition of these barriers to accessing timely and high-quality pediatric healthcare, community partners came together to develop a solution through the use of innovative technology. The Cleveland County Public Health Center, Cleveland County Schools, Shelby Children's Clinic and Atrium Health pediatricians developed a Virtual Care Clinic for students inside Graham Elementary School that brings everyone together in one place.
Using telemedicine technology, local pediatricians from Shelby Children's Clinic provide medical care for students inside Graham Elementary School's Virtual Care Clinic, staffed by a Cleveland County Public Health Center School Nurse. Services provided range from skin infections and rashes to pink eye, asthma flares, stomach viruses, upper respiratory infections and the flu.
The clinic has resulted in decreased emergency room use, increased school attendance and increased access to a primary medical home. Before the Virtual Care Clinic, the school nurse sent home one student for illness every 5.4 academic days. Using the clinic, the nurse sent home one student for illness every 10.7 academic days - a 50 percent reduction in absenteeism due to illness.
"Parents are relieved to have assistance in navigating the health care system and to not have to take time off from work," said Linda Kiser, Cleveland County Public Health Center School Health Supervisor. "The Virtual Care Clinic has brought better health and more peace of mind to families in Cleveland County."
This GlaxoSmithKline Award was based on work performed during the 2017-18 fiscal year. Since that time, the Virtual Care Clinic program has expanded to three other schools in Cleveland County including James Love Elementary School, Township Three Elementary School and Shelby Intermediate School.
"The Virtual Care Clinic program is truly a collaborative effort between the Cleveland County Public Health Center, Shelby Children's Clinic, Atrium Health and Cleveland County Schools and we would be remiss to not recognize everyone in this effort," Kiser added. "We are very proud of this program and our collaboration and are excited to see how we will continue to grow and improve our care for the children of Cleveland County."

Pictured left to right: Patty Grinton MD FAAP, Pediatrician, Shelby Children's Clinic/Atrium Health; Patsy Amanda Fisher RMA, EMTI, Clinical Lead, Atrium Health; Maritza Caballero CNA, Virtual Care Telepresenter, Atrium Health; Amber Payne BSN, RN, NCSN, Graham Elementary School Nurse, Cleveland County Public Health Center; Linda Kiser BSN, RN, NCSN, School Health Supervisor, Cleveland County Public Health Center; Alisa Leonard BSN, RN, MHA, Director of Nursing, Cleveland County Public Health Center; and Tracy Barrett, Senior Budget Analyst/Financial Services Supervisor, Cleveland County Public Health Center.
Submitted by DeShay Oliver


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