Bridging the healthcare gap to keep kids in school

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Over 500,000 students get a free education through Oregon public schools.

But costs often extend beyond the classroom, like school supplies to do homework for example.

One overlooked cost is healthcare.

"If students have a medical issue or a mental health issue that is distracting them from their activities of daily life, that can certainly impact their performance at school," says Ed Smith-Burns, Outreach Director for La Clinica.

La Clinica's new health center at Kids Unlimited public charter school aims to ease that impact.

With clinics around southern Oregon, it's not their first time working with some kids unlimited families.

"Personally, it has helped a lot because i have a son with autism, and they've helped me with a bit of the services that my son has needed because unfortunately another clinic didn't help me, and at La Clinica one doctor helped a lot," says Diana Salazar, a mother of two.

But there is an added benefit of bringing it to the classroom.

Many of the children at Kids Unlimited have parents that work multiple jobs.

Finding time to take their children to the doctor may create financial strain, even before the costs of the visit are taken into account.

"The clinic will be working with our academic schedule, with the teachers, to make sure that those kids get their academic needs met, and many of their potential physical, or social anxiety or depression issues - they'll get support with," says Jani Hale, Principal of Kids Unlimited Academy.

When cost is a factor, some of those issues can be overlooked.

But with a sliding fee scale, and services for students and their families, La Clinica hopes to bridge the gap to provide healthcare for all.

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