HAMBLETON – In 2008 and 2012 a needs assessment was performed in Tucker County and during that assessment, community members expressed their concern about a gap in medical coverage available to Tucker County students including a lack of insurance and a lack of wellness care for those children.
From that, the St. George Medical Clinic came up with the idea of adding a school based medical clinic at the school and on Friday, the St. George Medical Clinic staff and board of directors celebrated the success and opening of the school based medical clinic as well as a dental clinic. St. George Medical Center Executive Director Steve Wamsley said his group worked with Tucker County BOE and TVEMS staff and instructors to make the clinic a reality.
“I congratulate the staff of the school based health clinic,” Wamsley said. “The first two months, Amanda kept saying to send her patients. Now she said they have plenty of patients. In fact, there have been 4,130 patient visits here in the last year. In the dental clinic Dr. Eakle has had 1.230 dental patients.”
Steven Sponaugle, R.N at the school based health center, thanked everyone who made the school based health clinic possible.
“I was driving to Mon General from Parsons three days a week and to have this kind of an opportunity close to home has been life changing,” Sponaugle said. “In the beginning we saw five patients a day and now that is up into the 20s and 30s. There was a need in the community and the facility is being utilized. Our goal is the quality of care will make patients leave from the clinic and tell others about their great experience with St. George Medical Clinic.”
John Kennedy, school based health clinic coordinator for West Virginia, said he was excited to share in the open house of the clinics.
“I have traveled around the state and have seen lots of school based health clinics but this is the nicest by far,” Kennedy said. “This is one of the finest school based health clinics in West Virginia and we need to celebrate that.”
Kennedy said school based health centers influence attendance, behavior and outcomes of students.
“School based health centers have a positive impact on students,” Kennedy said. He presented Wamsley with a gift from the Primary Health Association of West Virginia – a hand=made cutout of the state.
Tucker County Commission President Lowell Moore said he wanted to commend the St. George Medical Clinic for all of the services they provide.
“They are one of our largest employers,” Moore said. “They are a benefit to our community.”