Prince George’s County Public Schools has successfully partnered with the nation’s largest pediatric telehealth provider to bring virtual care to public school students.
Starting in October, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will start offering virtual telehealth resources to public school students in an effort to close healthcare gaps and make care more accessible.
PGCPS recently enacted an agreement with Hazel — the nation’s largest pediatric telehealth provider. The partnership will offer “students county-wide free access to a variety of telehealth services.” Mental health services will also be offered through the partnership.
The program is currently expected to launch in county middle schools and academies on October 10, then in high schools two weeks later on October 24. Once established at these academic levels, it will roll out in the county’s elementary schools. Mental health tele-therapy resources is slated to roll out in late October or early November.
Hazel Chief Health Officer and former Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles explained the partnership and future care to WTOP:
“Students can come into their school health room, and if their school health nurse or school health tech deems that there’s a condition that would benefit from speaking to a healthcare provider — including a pediatrician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant — they would press a button and access our system.
Our providers would come on and be able to provide a telehealth visit to that child, to identify what their needs are, obtain a history and potentially provide a diagnosis, and in some instances be able to provide a prescription to that child depending on what the need is.”
The partnership with Hazel also includes efforts to work directly with PGCPS families to “secure better access to medical care for further treatment, especially in neighborhoods where students might not even have a primary care physician, for instance.”
WTOP further detailed the upcoming program:
But even beyond the immediate, clinical care being provided, Hazel will also offer “that case management, family resource management approach in terms of helping the family navigate that process of identifying a provider and figuring out the best provider to meet the needs,” he said.
Here’s how the program will work for students seeking care:
Following a referral either from a parent or the school, and once a parent consents, “we provide an initial screen and an initial visit to assess what the child’s needs are and then we link them to one of our healthcare providers to do follow-up therapy,” said Gayles.