Telemedicine expanding to all Rochester city schools: See the doctor without leaving school

[anvplayer video=”5182423″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester City School District is making telemedicine available in all schools and expanding access to mental health services throughout the district.

When Toyin Anderson’s son went to the school nurse for discomfort in his ear, he was able to be evaluated by a doctor without her having to take him to the doctor’s office.

The school nurse called her and asked if she’d be open to a telemedicine visit, or a visit over video.

“Within an hour and a half he was seen, and then I received a phone call with the follow-up from the pediatrics office,” she said.

These visits happen right at school over the phone. They offer families the opportunity to consult with a pediatrician without the hassle of leaving school.

On Thursday, the district announced it will expand this service into all city schools..

The district also got a grant from the state, which it’s using to add nine new mental health centers in city schools.

“We really want to enhance access to healthcare and mental healthcare as quickly as possible for as many kids as possible,” pediatrician Jeff Kaczorowski said.

Melissa Heatly, the director for expanded school mental health clinics, says these services are important in maximizing class time for students.

“And also, we can provide collaboration and partnership and enhanced collaborative care within the school setting as well,” she said.

With these new services, students will have the opportunity to meet with therapists in one-on-one and group settings at school.

“Healthcare systems have always expected people to come to them, right? And this is a transformative way where we are now going to where people are,” said Eve Hosford, senior director of behavior health with Rochester Regional Health.

Telemedicine access is expected to be in place in all city schools within the next four years.

Those nine new mental health clinics are also expected to be completed within the next two to four years.