For Immediate Release: March 2, 2020

Media Contact: media@chfund.org, 212.535.9400, ext. 254

Telehealth Services to Expand for Children in Rural North Carolina Schools

A $100,000 grant from the Baxter International Foundation will address barriers to healthcare in McDowell and Avery Counties

New York, March 2, 2020 - Children’s Health Fund today announced funding from the Baxter International Foundation to expand telehealth services for children in North Carolina’s rural McDowell and Avery Counties. The $100,000 grant will be administered by Children’s Health Fund and enable the Center for Rural Health Innovation’s Health-e-Schools program to provide access to telehealth services to nearly 10,000 pre-K through 12th grade students and school staff. This will expand access to healthcare in a region where students and their families face many challenges to high-quality care stemming from financial constraints, transportation barriers, and even a shortage of healthcare providers.

The funding is intended to expand telehealth services to all ten schools in Avery County and increase student enrollment for already-existing telehealth services in McDowell County. Children in low-income families and un- or under-insured children in these communities have the most difficulty accessing healthcare, often missing medical checkups, screenings, vaccinations, and treatment. Offering telehealth services in schools will provide quality care for children who may otherwise go without it, reducing missed workdays for parents and caretakers, and ensuring students miss the minimum amount of classroom time.

"Access to high-quality healthcare is essential to a child’s growth, learning, and success. Children’s Health Fund is committed to breaking down access barriers and going the last mile to ensure healthcare access for all children—and telehealth is an innovative, accessible solution where in-person care is often unreachable,” said Chief Executive Officer Dennis Walto. “We are grateful to the Baxter International Foundation for their generous funding that will enable children in rural North Carolina to receive the care they need to thrive.”

"School-based telehealth services are proven to help improve attendance and reduce health barriers that can keep children from learning," said Amanda Martin, executive director of the Center for Rural Health Innovation. "We are thrilled that this support from Baxter will allow us to both deepen and expand critical telehealth services for children in rural North Carolina through our Health-e-Schools program."

“Building healthy communities, particularly where Baxter employees live and work, is a priority for the Baxter International Foundation—and innovative health solutions play a vital role when addressing access to care challenges,” said Verónica Arroyave, executive director of the Foundation. “We aim to invest in life-saving digital and telehealth programs for communities around the world, and are pleased to support a local program that expands healthcare options to families across McDowell and Avery Counties.” Baxter International Inc. owns a manufacturing facility in McDowell County.

“Baxter’s mission to save and sustain lives inspires us each and every day,” said Scott Overbeck, site director of Baxter’s North Cove facility located in McDowell county. “I’m proud that we are building on that mission by providing innovative health services to benefit children and families in our local community.”

The Health-e-Schools program administers telehealth care through high-definition video conferencing using specially-equipped stethoscopes and cameras. Teams work in conjunction with school nurses and primary care physicians to ensure students’ care is personal and coordinated. Medical issues like earaches, sore throats, colds, allergies, asthma, as well as chronic disease management, sports physicals, and mental health visits, and more can all be addressed through telehealth. In 2019, Health-e-Schools conducted 1,500 clinical encounters with students.

About Children’s Health Fund

Children’s Health Fund (CHF) is committed to ensuring access to high-quality healthcare for children experiencing barriers to care. From South Los Angeles to the Mississippi Delta, from the South Bronx to southern Arizona, every year our 26 national programs and fleet of 50 mobile medical clinics provide care to more than one hundred thousand children and their families. We deliver this care at more than 400 service sites, including fixed-site clinics, schools, Head Start centers, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and community agencies. CHF also works to reduce health barriers to learning, brings the voice of children to local and national policy debates, and in times of disaster, activates care for those in need.

Return to News Releases and Statements