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TuHS health center to break ground this summer

Crews are expected to begin work this summer on a new health clinic at Tualatin High School, offering students in Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood access to medical and dental services.

At a recent Tigard-Tualatin School Board meeting, district spokeswoman Susan Stark Haydon said work crews should break ground on the new health clinic in the next few months, transforming two large classrooms in the school into an in-house medical center with three examining rooms.

The school-based health clinic will be the second in the Tigard-Tualatin School District. Tigard High School opened a similar health clinic in 2008.

"Part of the reason why school-based health centers have been so successful is that they are convenient," Stark Haydon said. "Having one at Tualatin High will draw more students and families because it will be more convenient than Tigard."

The clinic will be open to students living in the Tigard-Tualatin School District as well as their siblings and district staff. The clinic will also open to students and staff in the Sherwood School District, which does not have a health center of its own, Stark Haydon said.

Clinicians in Tualatin will offer a variety of services, including diagnosing and treating minor illnesses and infections, offering health screenings, immunizations, physical exams, mental health assessments, counseling, substance abuse assessments, pregnancy tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

“One of the coolest things that this will have that is different from the clinic at Tigard is that it will have a dental examining room and a dental hygienist,” said Stark Haydon. The Tigard clinic received a grant for a hygienist to come once a week, who can refer patients to other dental clinics in the area for treatment.

Fees at the clinic will be on a sliding scale for students without insurance, and the clinic will accept private insurance and the Oregon Health Plan, Stark Haydon said.

“Nobody will be turned away for lack of ability to pay,” Stark Haydon said.

The clinic partners with local health centers to provide the health services, Stark Haydon said. Services at the Tigard school-based health center are offered by the Virginia Garcia Medical Center, but Stark Haydon said that no medical sponsors had been found for the Tualatin clinic, yet.

Construction on the health clinic is paid for through a $500,000 federal grant, as part of the Affordable Care Act. Construction should be finished by this fall, and the clinic will open in April 2015.

“We will use the fall and winter to get the public aware that it’s there so that everyone understands that it is coming and that it is available,” Stark Haydon said.




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