A new program at Shawnee Public Schools this school year allows students to see a physician through video conference while at school, with parent permission, for common ailments from sore throats to flu. And so far, the number one medical issue for 46 patients seen has been ear infections.

A new program at Shawnee Public Schools this school year allows students to see a physician through video conference while at school, with parent permission, for common ailments from sore throats to flu. And so far, the number one medical issue for 46 patients seen has been ear infections.

LaRita Haffey, district health nurse coordinator, spoke to the school board recently about the progress of Team Clinics. The remote medical service provider was enacted Sept. 17 at Jefferson and Horace Mann Elementary Schools, the Shawnee Early Childhood Center and Shawnee High School,.

Since the clinics began, Haffey said they have seen a total of 46 patients, with those being a mix of both students and staff members.

The only patients who had to be sent home due to illness were all teachers, Haffey said, and the number-one reason for students to be seen at the clinics was ear infections. Haffey is hoping

the program expands to other sites in the future. Right now, more than 300 students and staff members have pre-registered for the Team Clinics program.

Before the program began, the school board heard all about the concept from Trevor Nutt from Team Clinics.

With local health aides or nurses on site using remote diagnostic equipment, students at any of the four sites in the program can see a doctor or physician's assistant through TV video conferences as those medical professionals work with nurses or health aides at the local school sites.

The system, with parental permission, allows a student to be seen virtually by a physician. With local tests administered for strep throat or flu swabs, for example, the doctor could prescribe antibiotics or even suggest that the student follow-up with their own doctor.

Parents who are at work and can't be there for the virtual visit can be included on the conference with an installed phone one app and can even ask the doctor questions during the live doctor visit. And if a student needs an antibiotic for an ear infection, for example, the prescription will be sent to the

Team Clinics files claims with the student's insurance provider. If a student has no insurance, Team Clinics will take care of the visit.

Superintendent Dr. April Grace said Shawnee had a pilot program of this service last year and Shawnee is the first school district to offer such services.

She said the goal is for the district to provide more “wraparound” services to students and families and this is a way to provide a basic level of health care needs.

Team Clinics handles all paperwork, insurance and billing; the school district is not involved in any of that paperwork.