Improving community health while satisfying a critical community need: A case study for nonprofit hospitals

Alicia M. Hoke, Donna K. Kephart, Judith F. Dillon, Jody R. McCullough, Barbara J. Blatt, Jennifer L. Kraschnewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: School-based student health screenings identify issues that may affect physical and intellectual development and are an important way to maintain student health. Nonprofit hospitals can provide a unique resource to school districts by assisting in the timely completion of school-based screenings and meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act. This case study describes the collaboration between an academic medical center and a local school district to conduct school-based health screenings. Community Context: Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Hershey PRO Wellness Center collaborated with Lebanon School District to facilitate student health screenings, a need identified in part by a community health needs assessment. Methods: From June 2012 through February 2013, district-wide student health screenings were planned and implemented by teams of hospital nursing leadership, school district leadership, and school nurses. In fall 2013, students were screened through standardized procedures for height, weight, scoliosis, vision, and hearing. Outcomes: In 2 days, 3,105 students (67% of all students in the district) were screened. Letters explaining screening results were mailed to parents of all students screened. Debriefing meetings and follow-up surveys for the participating nurses provided feedback for future screenings. Interpretation: The 2-day collaborative screening event decreased the amount of time spent by school nurses in screening students throughout the year and allowed them more time in their role as school wellness champion. Additionally, parents found out early in the school year whether their child needed physician follow-up. Partnerships between school districts and hospitals to conduct student health screenings are a practical option for increasing outreach while satisfying community needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE185
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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