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Tualatin High will house public health clinic

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Nurse Practitioner Anne Trainor waits for patients at the school-based health center at Tigard High in 2011. The district received a $500,000 grant to build a second clinic at Tualatin High School in 2015. After years of waiting, Tualatin High School will soon be home to a school-based health center all its own.

The Tigard-Tualatin School District last week received a $500,000 grant to add a new health center at the school, the second in the district after a similar health center was built at Tigard High in 2008.

“As soon as we opened the clinic at Tigard, there was a big push for when we were going to have one at Tualatin,” said school district spokeswoman Susan Stark Haydon.

The district was one of five in the state to receive the grant from the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The Beaverton School District will also be adding a school-based health center at Beaverton High School.

The Tualatin clinic will be open to anyone in the Tigard-Tualatin School District as well as the Sherwood School District, which doesn’t have a health center of its own, Stark Haydon said.

Tualatin and Sherwood have fewer options for access to low-cost medical care than Tigard, which is closer to Beaverton and other places with clinics that serve uninsured families, she said.

TuHS’s clinic will perform a variety of services, including diagnosing and treating minor illnesses and infections, and offer health screenings, immunizations, physical examinations, mental health assessments, counseling and family support, substance abuse assessments, pregnancy tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

In January, the Tigard clinic drew headlines after it held meetings with parents and community members to discuss the possibility of offering contraceptives to students along with the already-offered pregnancy tests. The clinic eventually decided against the idea.

The Tualatin clinic will have its own advisory committee and medical provider, Stark Haydon said. Its operation will be separate from the Tigard clinic.

One of only a handful of such health clinics in Washington County, the clinic will be a self-supporting organization, Stark Haydon said, and It won’t be dependent on the money from the district to keep it operating.

“The Tigard clinic is self-supporting, but it takes a little bit to become that,” Stark Haydon said. “We need to get people using it and knowing about it.”

Fees at the Tigard clinic are on a sliding pay scale. It accepts payments from clients, private insurance and the Oregon Health Plan.

Stark Haydon said the Tualatin High School center would operate in much the same way as the Tigard campus, but with a few key differences. Unlike the Tigard clinic, which operates out of a small exterior building behind Tigard High, the Tualatin clinic will operate from a converted classroom inside the school itself.

The $500,000 grant will fund the construction costs for remodeling the classroom, or classrooms, into a functioning in-house medical center, Stark Haydon said.

Stark Haydon estimated that about $100,000 in additional grants would be needed to get the clinic up and running for the first year.

If all goes according to plan, the clinic should open its doors to patients in 2015.

Stark Haydon said the district was looking for volunteers to serve on the clinic’s advisory committee.



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