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Consortium hopes to increase number of insured students

Parents filling out registration papers for their children at the beginning of the school year may have noticed a new question on the list, asking if the student has medical insurance.

The question is part of a project sponsored by the Enterprise Community Healthy Start Initiative that seeks to increase the number of children covered by health insurance.

At the recent ECHSI McDuffie consortium meeting, Perinatal Center Director Sandra Pittman announced the program, saying the first step in the process is to identify the number of uninsured children, and they asked the school system's help.

McDuffie Schools Superintendent Mark Petersen said the school system would not be involved any other way except to relay messages. Dr. Petersen said if the parents' answers on the registration indicate a child is not covered by any medical insurance or Medicaid, then an application for PeachCare/Medicaid would be sent home with that child.

"We're not going to be in that loop," Dr. Petersen said. "But we're also not giving out their names and phone numbers. That's private information. ECHSI does not know who does and who does not have insurance."

Ms. Pittman said many children do not get proper care, checkups or immunizations because they are not insured. The McDuffie County ECHSI project is modeled after a similar one in Clark County Schools.

The ECHSI satellite office in Thomson is located in the IGA shopping center on W. Hill Street. The program provides nursing case management, education, screening, testing and outreach activities. Healthy Start is open to the public and shares referrals with other agencies such as the Health Department, Partners For Success, the Department of Family and Children Services and the Mental Health Department.

The Thomson office is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 706-597-0364.

Web posted on Thursday, September 04, 2008

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