WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee School Board unanimously renewed a contract with Columbia Valley Community Health Tuesday to provide school-based health services to students at seven campuses.

The offerings include general health checkups and other medical care for students and staff. The efforts began with a pilot program at Lincoln Elementary School in 2016.

The contract was initially included in the consent agenda during the board’s May 24 meeting. However, board member Katherine Thomas asked for the item to be removed to allow additional time for review.

Thomas said Monday that she supports the services the clinics offer but has concerns about minors receiving mental health treatment without parental consent.

"In Washington state, we have got to just, put front and center, parents," she said. "We've got to recognize that your 13-year-old can get these services without you knowing."

According to the Washington State Health Care Authority, under state law, a “minor who is 13 years old or older may initiate an evaluation and treatment for outpatient and/or inpatient mental health services, substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, or withdrawal management without parental consent.”

During both the May 24 meeting and Tuesday night, speakers during the public comment period objected to the inclusion of “psychotropic medications” under the list of medical services the centers may provide.

Staffers at the clinics must either be an advanced registered nurse practitioner, a medical doctor or physician assistant and licensed in Washington, which means they could theoretically prescribe these medications. At Tuesday’s meeting, Andrea Hoey, a nurse at CVCH, said she has never prescribed medication for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or antipsychotic medication “within any of the school district clinics.”

Hoey said she works to ensure “the kids and the parents together, and get the resources that they need.”

Kory Kalahar, the school district's assistant executive director of learning and teaching, and several representatives from CVCH attended the meeting to discuss the health centers and what they offer.

The centers can also provide routine care including nutrition information, immunizations, general exams, among other services.

According to the contract, Wenatchee does not bear any cost for services provided to students, and “the student and/or family shall assume the financial obligation for outside services received by the student.”

The services will be available at WestSide and Wenatchee high schools, Orchard Middle School and Columbia, John Newbery, Mission View and Lincoln elementary schools. At each site, CVCH will lease space on campus to operate one day a week for $30 or $5 an hour. At Lincoln Elementary, CVCH will lease additional “behavioral health services” space for $30 a week, which is also $5 an hour.

Mitchell Roland: (509) 661-5201

roland@wenatcheeworld.com or

on Twitter @roland_mitchell

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