Students get health screens

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011

LBWCC RN nursing student Krystal McIntosh checks OES student Madison Miller’s throat for swollen tonsils and other issues.

Just say, “Ahhhhhhhh!” That’s what students in the Opp City Schools system are doing this week as part of a statewide KidCheck initiative.

Some 750 students within the system are participating in the basic health-screening event that ends today.

Yesterday, around 400 Opp Elementary School students were screened for things such as blood pressure, vision, hearing and dental problems.

“This year we even have a dentist on site,” said OCS head nurse and KidCheck coordinator Rita Drew. “And we are busing students from the middle school and the high school, here to the elementary school.”

The program is an initiative former Gov. Bob Riley began. Students in two-year and four-year college nursing programs, along with their instructors, conduct the screenings.

“LBW LPN and RN students and their instructors are conducting the screenings for us,” Drew said. “Our HOSA (health care) students from OHS are also helping.”

Drew said the results are reviewed by registered nurses, and if any abnormalities are found they work with the parents to make sure follow-ups are made with physicians.

“We’ve already found several abnormalities,” she said, early Tuesday morning.

Drew said they also work with those who qualify to get health coverage from Medicaid or All Kids, the children’s health insurance program offered by the Alabama Department of Public Health for children under age 19. All Kids helps families who do not qualify for Medicaid because they earn too much or do not earn enough to get private health insurance, Drew said.

For those who don’t qualify for either program, Drew works to help them find alternative resources for children to get the health care they need, even if they can’t afford it.

This is the third year for the program and now includes students system wide, and that’s good news, Drew said.

“A lot of kids don’t get regular checkups,” she said.