La Clinica will take over Crater High School's student health center this fall.

La Clinica will take over Crater High School's student health center this fall.

The school's health center has been operated by Jackson County, which recently notified the Central Point School District that it would not renew its contract for another year.

The health center, housed in the Crater Renaissance Academy at the high school, 655 North Third St., will offer medical and behavioral health services to the high school's estimated 1,400 students every day during school hours. La Clinica will staff the clinic with a nurse and mental health therapists, and nurse practitioners from the organization's Central Point Health Center will be available at the clinic two days per week, said Traci Fossen, La Clinica special programs director.

"We are so excited to expand our school-based health services in Central Point School District to the high school," she said.

The Central Point site will become the sixth school-based health center operated by La Clinica, a nonprofit health center group based in Medford. The organization also runs school-based health centers at Jackson, Oak Grove and Washington elementary schools in Medford, Jewett in Central Point and Phoenix Elementary School. It serves three other elementary schools with its mobile health center, she said.

Services at the center will include basic medical care and education, physicals and sports exams, immunizations, treatment of illnesses and chronic health issues, mental health screenings, assessments and treatment, vision, hearing and dental screenings, dispensing of over-the-counter medication for minor complaints and treatment of minor injuries.

La Clinica will have staff on hand to help with Oregon Health Plan applications and can help students with resources for other services in the community.

As at La Clinica's other school-based sites, students will be eligible to receive care regardless of their ability to pay. La Clinica will ask families that use the service to pay a small annual fee to cover registration costs and the organization will bill insurance for those students who have it.

County health departments across the state have been moving toward partnerships with hospitals and federally qualified health centers as a result of budget cuts, Fossen said.

"It was a budgetary decision on (the county's part)," she said. "It's part of a statewide trend."

Fossen explained that, unlike the county health department, La Clinica has the ability to bill the Oregon Health Plan if a student is enrolled in the program.

La Clinica will remain in partnership with the health department in order to qualify for any state funding that might be available through the county, she added.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.