School-Based Health Centers Helping Students In Two Brewer Schools

BREWER, Maine (WABI) - It's School-Based Health Care Awareness Month. There are 16 health care centers in Maine schools, including two in Brewer. One at the Brewer Community School and one at the Brewer High School.

Keeping up with an entire school of children and their health is a big job Carol Warmuth knows well.

"I've been a school nurse for 21 years," she says.

She says with a population of more than one thousand students at the Brewer Community School, they see nearly 30 kids a day for medications alone, not to mention up to 60 students a day for illness and injury.

For the ones who need further medical attention, they can be seen and in many cases treated thanks to their school-based health center.

"It's wonderful. It's absolutely fantastic to have that resource available to the kids and families," she says.

Through Penobscot Community Health Care, they have a physician assistant on site, just like walk-in care, so can they treat things like strep throat and sports injures, and give stitches and even immunizations.

"If they're sick, they're done here with the nurse, and we just move them into our room. It works just like a regular doctor's office," says Lisa Bergmark, physician assistant at the school.

Even if students have a primary care provider, they can still get medical attention right there.

The center also provides mental health care and dental care on site, which saves students and families valuable time.

"We're at school, and so the students are here and they can just go down to us and parents are welcome here, but they also can stay at work if they want to and we'll talk to them on the phone," says Bergmark.

"It's something you don't think about, but when you see the kids and families that have to leave school to go see the doctor or go see the dentist and sometimes families don't have the resources to get them there and then get them back to school, so they miss an entire day sometimes," says Warmuth.

They say they see all students.

"If the student doesn't have insurance, we have some different ways of helping them pay for things. We don't turn anybody away. That's more of a PCHC philosophy," says Bergmark.