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Pediatric Partners of the Southwest to oversee Durango High School health clinic

Florida Mesa Elementary health center to close
Pediatric Partners of the Southwest will begin serving as the medical provider for the School-Based Health Center at Durango High School beginning July 1. The service had been provided for 12 years by Axis Health System.

Pediatric Partners of the Southwest will serve as the medical provider for the School-Based Health Center at Durango High School beginning July 1.

The School-Based Health Center had been a partnership between Durango School District 9-R and Axis Health System for the last 12 years. Axis Health and 9-R worked to develop the health centers as a model to support and serve students, providing quality and accessible health care to La Plata County youngsters, according to Julie Popp, 9-R spokeswoman, in a news release.

Dr. Kim Caruso, a pediatrician with Pediatric Partners of the Southwest, said Axis Health decided to step away from serving as the medical provider at the School-Based Health Center. It was natural for Pediatric Partners of the Southwest to assume the duties as medical provider at the school health centers, Caruso said, because most of the students in 9-R already are patients with Pediatric Partners.

“It seemed a good fit,” she said.

Pediatric Partners of the Southwest is well-positioned to assume the medical sponsorship and direct health care services at the Durango High School-based health clinic, Popp said in the release.

Dan Snowberger, superintendent for Durango School District 9-R, said in the release, “We are confident that the Durango High School SBHC will continue to be a reliable health care resource for La Plata County students. We are grateful to offer such a valuable and important service to our students that they can conveniently access from school or within the community.”

The School-Based Health Center location at Florida Mesa Elementary will close June 30. Florida Mesa Elementary students will be able to receive care at the DHS health center during business hours as needed.

Caruso said as Pediatric Partners examined taking over the School-Based Health Center several months ago, it determined the Florida Mesa health center was underutilized. Because younger children frequently visit Pediatric Partners with their parents anyway, Pediatric Partners decided it was best to concentrate its resources at the high school’s health center.

“We determined the high school clinic was a better use of our resources,” she said.

In the news release, Caruso said, “PPSW is committed to providing comprehensive primary care for 9-R students as well as identifying and supporting students’ behavioral health needs.”

Caruso said a full-time pediatric provider as well as a behavioral health provider will be full-time on-site at the high school clinic. The clinic will also have the ability to use telemedicine technology, Caruso said.

Pediatric Partners will work with Axis Health System to engage patients in behavioral health care as needed, according to the 9-R news release.

All regional students up to age 21 may enroll and access services at the high school clinic, including home-schooled youths, online learners, charter school and private school students.

Nonschool-aged patients are also welcome to be seen at the clinic.

parmijo@durangoherald.com

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