LOS ANGELES (CNS) – In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District have partnered to offer virtual healthcare visits for children at 20 area schools based on absenteeism rates and the number of students with chronic conditions at each location, it was announced Wednesday.
The Virtual Care at School program is designed to create a convenient way for children to receive care from CHLA specialists in lieu of being absent from school for an appointment, according to CHLA.
Set to begin on the first day of the 2023-24 school year, the program will be available for existing CHLA patients aged 12 and older who attend a participating LAUSD school. The virtual appointments will be offered in the specialty areas of Adolescent Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Endocrinology, Infectious Diseases, Medical Genetics and Pulmonology.
“Family-centered care is at the core of everything we do at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and we know that children with chronic illnesses constantly missing school and caregivers having to leave work early to travel across town for a doctor’s appointment are pain points for many of our patient families,” Omkar Kulkarni, chief transformation and digital officer at CHLA, said in a statement.
According to CHLA, telehealth visits have skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, about 470 virtual appointments were conducted by CHLA annually, but that number now exceeds 42,000. Officials said using telehealth is a benefit for students, allowing them to receive care without sacrificing classroom time.
“Los Angeles Unified takes an active approach in providing resources that support the whole child by fostering academic excellence, nurturing and enriching green spaces, physical well-being and social-emotional health,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said in a statement.
“The partnership with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the largest provider of pediatric medical care in Los Angeles County, will not only provide world-class care from CHLA specialists. It also removes numerous impediments for families receiving medical attention by providing virtual care at schools, reducing the time families miss work and minimizing time away from the classroom. I can think of no better partner than CHLA to launch the Virtual Care at School Program.”
The following LAUSD schools will pilot the program:
— David Starr Jordan High School;
— Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School;
— Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High School;
— Francisco Sepulveda Middle School;
— Huntington Park High School;
— James Madison Middle School;
— John C. Fremont High School;
— John H. Francis Polytechnic High School;
— John Marshall High School;
— Los Angeles Academy Middle School STEAM Magnet;
— North Hollywood High School;
— Northridge Academy High School;
— Olive Vista Middle School;
— Panorama High School;
— Phineas Banning Senior High School;
— Rudecinda Sepulveda Dodson Middle School;
— Thomas Jefferson High School;
— Vista Middle School;
— William Howard Taft High School; and
— Woodrow Wilson Senior High School.
Scheduling for virtual appointments is now open by contacting CHLA’s virtual care coordinator Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 323-284-3829.