HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The Hannibal School District celebrated its new school-based health clinic with a ribbon-cutting and open house Wednesday afternoon.
The clinic, which opened in late August, is a partnership between the district and Hannibal-based Clarity Healthcare. Pirates Access to Treatment with Clarity Healthcare, otherwise known as the PATCH Center, is what school officials have named the clinic.
"It's been a wonderful addition to our district, and we're excited to show it off," Superintendant Susan Johnson said at the ceremony. "As far as we know, only six other school-based clinics are in Missouri, and most of those are in the southern part of the state."
The purpose of the PATCH Center, Johnson explained, is to make health care accessible and affordable to all Hannibal School District students, faculty, staff and retired staff who continue to receive insurance benefits. A nurse practitioner, nurse, counselor and community service worker/receptionist staff the clinic, but the district hopes to add counselors in the future.
According to the district's September statistics -- its most recent numbers for the PATCH Center -- 70 students visited the clinic for physicals, immunizations or sick visits; 18 received counseling services; and 36 faculty and staff received health care services.
"This has been a passion of ours for a long time," said Mark Conover, vice president of health services at Clarity. "It's all about integrated care: It's primary care, it's mental health services, it's case management, support for kids who are at risk. That's what we're here for. We're that health safety net provider so no one falls through the cracks."
There has essentially been no cost to the district to open the clinic.
Clarity paid for the remodeling of the former Special Services building at the corner of McMasters Avenue and Pirate Pride Drive, and it covers all clinic costs. The only cost to the School District was installing a sidewalk to the clinic's front entrance.
"There's a lot of kids who need different support systems, and it's never enough to go around, so we're very grateful to have this in addition to what we're already doing in our school system," Johnson said.
Conover added, "We look forward to the many years of this to come."