Mercy Clinic, Cassville schools partner for on-site clinic

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Mercy Clinic in Cassville and the Cassville school district recently partnered to open an on-site medical clinic on campus for students, teachers and staff. Pictured in photo, from left, are: Vicki Punch, Mercy Clinic Cassville manager; Amanda Winfrey, Mercy Clinic Nurse Practitioner; and Dr. Connie Butler, physician at Mercy Clinic, Cassville. Contributed photo

First-come, first-served clinic will be available from 7-8:30 a.m.

As a result of a new partnership between Mercy Clinic in Cassville and the Cassville school district, students, teachers and staff who are not feeling well will be able to be checked at a medical clinic on the school campus.

Beginning Sept. 5, the clinic, which will be located across the hallway from the primary and middle school cafeteria, will provide medical services for students, teachers and staff from 7-8:30 a.m. each morning.

Due to a new partnership between Mercy Clinic in Cassville, and the Cassville school district, students, teachers and staff will now be able to see a medical professional on site for basic illnesses. The school also has a partnership with Cox to provide telemedicine, which allows students and staff to see a doctor on-screen through internet-based technology. Dr. Connie Butler, physician at Mercy Clinic, spoke to Cassville staff Monday regarding the new outreach clinic at Cassville schools. Pictured with Butler is Dr. Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent, background; Amanda Winfrey, Mercy Clinic Nurse Practitioner; and Vicki Punch, Mercy Clinic manager. Contributed photo

Both Mercy and school administration had been considering the idea long before it became a reality.

“We’ve been thinking about having a medical clinic at the school for four or five years,” said Jill LeCompte, Cassville assistant superintendent. “But, we weren’t sure of the logistics. Staff at Mercy had been thinking about this, too, and it took off from there. But Mercy has taken the lead. We had discussions and they’ll be renting the space from us.

“We have a lot of people here. There are nearly 2,000 kids on this [entire] campus, and with almost 250 employees, that is the majority of people in this town. So, I think it makes sense to have a clinic located here.”

The space is just a few feet from an outdoor entrance of the primary school building, making it a convenient location, and may be accessed by using the circle drive entrance to the primary and middle school cafeteria.

“Parents can pull up to the door,” LeCompte said.

The clinic works on a first-come, first-served basis, with Mercy Clinic Cassville Nurse Practitioner Amanda Winfrey providing care for a variety of illnesses such as sore throats, urinary tract infections, colds, ear infections, and bug bites, as well as strep tests and sports physicals.

“I am beyond excited Mercy and the school have made this dream a reality and I have been chosen to provide this service to the students, faculty and families,” Winfrey said.

Parents and guardians will be contacted prior to a student being treated.

The service is not free but will work on the same basis as if a patient was seen at the regular Mercy clinic, and visits will be billed. Insurance will be taken, and billed in-network or out-of-network, based on patients’ insurance providers.

While the school was having conversations about an on-site clinic, so was Mercy.

“Dr. Connie Butler and I talked about it, and we were looking for ways to help in the community and branch out and make ourselves a little better known,” Winfrey said. “I had been in touch with a physician’s assistant about a similar program in Webb City, found it intriguing, worked with them, then contacted the school.

“When I was growing up, my mom was a teacher. We would go to an early morning clinic so she could get to work on time. It also provides continuity between us and the clinic, and provides more availability, because a lot of times, people can’t get into our clinic, so it will help students be seen quicker. It also helps the students because teachers can be seen faster, so they won’t have as many substitutes.”

Another benefit is reducing absenteeism, which falls right in line with the district’s strong attendance programs.

“We don’t have a huge staff absence issue, but this could definitely help with that because you have to take off work [or school] to see the doctor,” LeCompte said.

Winfrey, who volunteered to work at the clinic, will continue to work at Mercy Clinic in Cassville. Both Mercy and the school are hoping it will be a long-term partnership.

“I think we’re forging ahead with something new and hopefully others will follow behind,” Winfrey said. “I want to thank the school because Jill and Dr. Richard Asbill have welcomed us and made it a priority to get us in there. They think it’s very important to keep your staff healthy, so they are allowing us a space for the clinic.”

Cassville Superintendent Richard Asbill said having the on-site clinic will provide a convenient alternative to non-emergency health care.

“Our No. 1 focus is the safety and well-being of our students and staff,” Asbill said. “The fact is, if you are not feeling well, it is hard to make learning a priority in the classroom. The onsite clinic is a team effort between Cassville R-IV and Mercy, and we are excited to make this a reality for our district. We believe the clinic will ensure our school family has access to quality healthcare in a timely manner, allowing them to focus on learning and providing a quality education.”

Asbill said LeCompte had been instrumental in facilitating the partnership.

“I feel very honored that Mercy would take such an interest in our school and value us to the point they would want to start this clinic,” LeCompte said. “They care about our kids and staff and want to try this. It’s quite an undertaking for them, and we really appreciate their efforts. I’m so excited to give it a shot.”

In the future, clinic hours may be extended.

“We’re going to see how busy it will be,” Winfrey said. “We may expand the hours based on the school’s needs.”

The clinic will be offered in addition to the DirectConnect Telemedicine service for students and staff through a partnerships with CoxHealth, which allows patients to receive care via live, secure video consultations with a licensed nurse practitioner.

“Between Mercy and our other partnership with Cox to provide telemedicine, we’re so blessed and thrilled to have the clinic,” LeCompte said.

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