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School nurses see 20,000 per month under Meritus program

Washington County Public Schools Board of Education gets update on program

January 15, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Nurses in Washington County Public Schools have been seeing about 20,000 students a month since Meritus Medical Center took over the nursing program this year, officials said at a Washington County Board of Education meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The number of students being seen by nurses was part of an update on the nursing program that was presented to board of education members.

Of the students being seen, about 35 percent of them are being helped for dispensing of medication and about 10 percent are being helped for minor injuries, said Joseph P. Ross, president and chief executive officer of Meritus Health.

There have been nearly 300 cases of the flu among students but that number is not out of the ordinary, Ross said.

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Ross said the number of flu cases seemed to be softening in the last 48 hours.

Flu vaccine clinics for children were held there were ample amounts of the vaccine, Meritus officials said.

“Nobody was turned away,” said Jesus Cepero, vice president and chief nursing officer for Meritus Health.

Last year, the Washington County Board of Commissioners cut $3.3 million from a county health department program that provides nurses in public schools.

As a result of the commissioners’ decision, the county health department began to issue layoff notices to approximately 76 nurses and other health care workers at county public schools.

In August, the school system reached a deal with Meritus Medical Center Inc. to provide school health services starting with the 2012-13 school year. The one-year deal has two possible one-year extensions.

The cost of the program for the first year, from Aug. 15, 2012, to Aug. 14, 2013, is not to exceed $2,737,458.

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