The school has obtained a grant that allows the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Health Van to come to the school and provide various medical services to students.
“The goal of the van is to provide as comprehensive of care as we can to uninsured teens,” physician Christian Pariseau, one of the many trained professionals staffed by the health van, said. “That would be basically anything that you would think of seeing a doctor for.”
Among these services are routine physicals and vaccinations, services that most people go to their private doctor for. However, many students at this school do not have health care and cannot afford this luxury.
“It’s our way to fill in the gap,” health teacher Vicky Christensen said. “It could be really wonderful.”
However it is by no means a mandatory service. Students will not be forced to use the bus.
“It’s available to those who want help, but can’t afford it,” Christensen said.
Uninsured teens who wish to use the general services of the bus will need to fill out a single form, requiring just a signature from the parents. The form is only needed if the student wishes for regular services such as physicals and vaccinations. However, no billing information will be needed, as the services are entirely free.
The van’s services are not solely for uninsured teens. Although the general health services are usually for those who do not have private doctors, the van does provide help to all students with “sensitive services.”
Categories that fall under “sensitive services” include medical problems like drugs, alcohol and sex.
Statistics have shown that nearly 75 percent of teens have engaged in some form of sex by the time they finish 12th grade.
The school and doctors who run the health van realize this, and know that they must help teenagers with the repercussions of getting pregnant, or getting an STD. Services such as needing guidance or information about pregnancy and STDs, as well as drug and alcohol addiction are open in all students, not just the uninsured.
“People are concerned that they might be pregnant,” Pariseau said. “We try to talk about what their plans are and try to guide them. Regular physical checkups are for the uninsured, but sensitive services is for everybody.”
No form is needed for sensitive services, and state law mandates that information related to sensitive services will remain confidential.
The van is jointly operated by the Lucille Packard Foundation and El Camino Hospital. It is funded by grants from El Camino Hospital and private donors.
The van visits the school on the last Thursday of every month. However, from October through December, the schedule has changed. An updated schedule with the new dates will be posted soon.