BRADENTON, Fla. -- A new health center at Southeast High School in Bradenton is giving students easy access to medical services at on campus.
"We want to reach kids who don’t originally have access to health care, so let's go reach them at their school," said Charlie Kennedy, a Manatee County School Board member who has helped work on the health center project for years.
Now, Manatee County Schools have partnered with MCR Health to bring quality health care to students who otherwise couldn't afford it.
"Most adolescents don’t go to the doctor unless they’re not feeling good. And then they have to bring their parents to take them in most cases and their parents have to miss work," said George VanBuren, MCR Health Medical Director
But not anymore. The grand opening of the new School-Based Health Center at Southeast High School in Bradenton was on Monday.
The new health center will give 1,800 Southeast High School Students access to physicals, sick visits, wellness exams, immunizations, vision, dental services and more.
The health center also has a whole building dedicated to mental health counseling.
Southeast High School is in a low-income area and a grant is helping to fund the partnership.
"We’re improving access in a school setting in the place where they feel most comfortable," said VanBuren
There are more than 2,500 school-based health centers across the nation. Studies have shown that use of the centers link to improvements in grades, attendance, and college preparation.
MCR Health accepts most private insurance, Medicaid and has sliding scale fees.
The district hopes to open more school health centers with their new partnership.