Changes at A kidZ Clinic

By Mariah Emond


Dear Editor:

Parents and community members that have supported A kidZ Clinic would want to know that there have been significant changes to the clinic in the last 30 days. The school-based health center (SBHC) has lived in the hearts of many community members for over a decade and was finally made into a reality in July of 2014. While in the planning phase back in 2013, the planning committee did a significant amount of work to seek out the "best-of-the-best" model for rural SBHCs. The plan was to create a community-owned, nonprofit 501(c)(3), as this governance model would be ideal as the clinic would not be subjected to the whim of any one specific agency's funding cuts or changes in leadership. The school district could rely on the SBHC to provide health services and programming, but not be burdened by the responsibility of managing a health clinic.

A community-owned model allows for parents, students and passionate community members to be an integral part of the board of directors. The participation of families in the SBHC is a basic component of A kidZ Clinic's community advisory board. The mission of all SBHCs is to give the gift of access to health services to the students in their schools, where they are and when they need them with support from many agencies to serve the entire continuum of health issues.

The governance model was set up so that the executive director of this clinic was to be overseen by that board of directors and other staff members could be contracted depending on the services needed, like dental hygiene or mental health, through the provision of a clinically administrative "tactical" team. The board would oversee the fiduciary responsibilities to the funders and the tactical team works on the daily clinic operations. The underlying foundation of an SBHC is the development of partnerships with existing resources within the community and to serve the school district by providing prevention and education programming. The funding is a mix of revenue generated by insurance billing, State of Colorado grant monies in a budget line item designated to only SBHCs, and private foundation grants. These total to date are over $500,000 to assure the sound and sustainable development of A kidZ Clinic. The tactical team made the changes to the direction of the clinic and after a disagreement over the clinic administration, the tactical team has fired or laid off staff, with the result of the rest of the staff resigning on the medical and administrative team.

The clinic has been a program dear to my heart with many hours of work put in for the partnerships to be successful, and I ask you all to continue to provide support and input as parents, students and community members as scarce resources are hard to develop in rural Colorado. My wish for our community is that we all continue to care about the health and wellness of our children, our future! My hope is that the clinic finalizes the board of directors so that these members can carry on the work of serving our students and that they are educated on the amazing opportunities that are available to SBHCs. Our community needs support to carry on collaborative projects that do require a large amount of relationship building through trust and shared resources, but all well-worth the effort if our children have the resources they need!

Mariah Emond
Delta