Golden Valley Health Centers is partnering with the Merced City School District to open a health center adjacent to Joe Stefani Elementary. The MCSD Board of Education approved a resolution supporting the facility during its March 12 meeting, and it is expected to open in January of 2020.
The health center will offer a full range of physical, dental, mental, and preventative services to students, their families, and the surrounding community. Patients can be treated for acute illnesses, such as flu, and chronic conditions, including asthma and diabetes. They can also be screened for dental, vision and hearing problems. The goal of opening the center next to a school is to provide high quality care in a convenient location, which helps limit the amount of time that families need to have their children absent from class.
MCSD AND GVHC have executed a Memorandum of Understanding that identifies the roles and responsibilities of each party in relation to the lease, construction, and operation of the health center. The district plans to lease the property next to Stefani Elementary to GVHC to install a modular unit that complements the design of the campus. The center will be staffed by primary care providers (i.e., doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant), a behavioral health provider (for mild to moderate services), a dentist and a hygienist along with support staff such as a medical assistant, dental assistant and receptionist. It will tentatively be open from 8am -5pm on school days.
Research finds that school-based health centers increase student attendance and graduation rates while placing an emphasis on prevention, early intervention, and developing healthy habits.
Tony Weber, CEO of Golden Valley Health Centers, says, “We are thankful for this partnership with the local community, the Merced City School District and Stefani Elementary in helping to meet the needs of our students for their overall health and well-being. We believe this will not just help students, but by tending to these needs at school, we are also supporting parents.”
Merced City School District Superintendent Dr. RoseMary Parga Duran adds, “We are excited about this opportunity to partner with Golden Valley Health Centers to provide important health resources for our students, their families, and the Franklin/Beachwood community. Attendance is a key factor in academic success, and we believe this center will help our students spend more time learning and maximizing their potential so they can thrive in school and later in life.”
Golden Valley Health Centers is a private, non-profit Federally Qualified health center system that has served California’s Central Valley for over 46 years. GVHC is accredited by The Joint Commission and recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. GVHC provides comprehensive primary medical, dental, and behavioral health, as well as health education and eligibility screening to a diverse population in Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Counties. GVHC has developed a system of 36 sites and counting. GVHC’s mission is to improve the health of their patients by providing quality, primary health care services to people in the communities they serve regardless of language, financial or cultural barriers.
The Merced City School District serves nearly 12,000 students in preschool through eighth grade. It includes 14 elementary schools, four middle schools, and a state-of-the-art STEAM Center that opened in 2017 to provide a flexible space for modern, hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. The District is also one of the largest employers in Merced County with approximately 1200 dedicated staff members. For more information, please visit: www.mcsd.k12.ca.us.