Primary Health Care Center located in Rossville and Trenton will open a school-based health clinic on the campus of Tiger Creek Elementary School.
"I'm excited about the opportunities that would come with a school-based health clinic," said Catoosa County Schools Superintendent Denia Reese. "Anything we can do to help students improve attendance is great. For Catoosa County to pilot this program, it's beneficial. We are all excited."
Catoosa County School Board Director of Operations Damon Raines said some of Ringgold High School's portable buildings might be moved to Tiger Creek Elementary to house the health care clinic.
Through an Emory University planning grant, the Tiger Creek clinic should become a reality once funding becomes available. Primary Health Care Center officials estimate that the clinic should open in one to two years.
"Representatives from Emory will meet with us again in May," said Primary Health Care CEO Diana Allen. "We believe we identified a good school, Tiger Creek Elementary, because it is in a designated medically underserved area."
She said Tiger Creek Elementary, located at the end of Catoosa County, has a high percentage of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunch.
Allen said the health care facility there will make doctor visits more accessible for children.
"My children go to Tiger Creek Elementary," said grant coordinator Chastity Helton. "It's a 20-minute drive to the doctor's office. By the time you go and get back, a child misses most of the school day. I think the health care clinic will be a major advantage for Tiger Creek students, faculty and staff."
Allen said children served by school-based health clinics are absent less from school.
She said whether the child has medical insurance or no insurance, they will be served at the health clinic.
"Our long-term goal would be to serve the faculty, children and their families," Allen said. "It would focus on the community."
• Primary Health Care Center provides primary medical care on a sliding scale based on patient's income. The facilities provide acute care, chronic disease management, dental and mental health services. To learn more, visit here or call Primary Health Care Center of Rossville at (706) 866-5520.