GLASGOW — Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. was chosen by the Barren County Board of Education Thursday night during a special-called meeting to provide a school health program for the school district.
The Barren County School System is currently partnering with the Barren River District Health Department in providing a school health program, but the district health department is suspending its school health program in all school systems effective Dec. 31 due to financial and other reasons.
With the district health department no longer offering school health programs, the school board was forced to look for another health organization that could provide that service.
The school board issued a request for proposal for the service and heard presentations from four health organizations last week. Those that delivered presentations were: T.J. Regional Health; Graves-Gilbert Clinic; Family Health Centers Inc.; and Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc.
The deadline for submitting proposals to the school board was Thursday. Only three of the health organizations that delivered presentations — Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc.; T.J. Regional Health; and Family Health Centers Inc. — submitted proposals.
A committee reviewed the proposals Thursday morning and created a summary of the proposals that was submitted to the school board for review during its special-called meeting Thursday night.
“As we created this summary sheet we thought about what is most important as we look at these service options, and as we all know what is most important is the services that our students receive in Barren County, whether it be educational or health, and we want them to receive the best service as possible,” said Cynthia York, director of special programs.
Also taken into consideration was what the health organizations could offer the nurses who are already working in the school system for the district health department.
As for what services Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. can offer students and staff, the summary chart shows the health organization offering health screenings and exams, administration of medication and shots, provision of mental health services, provision of education and training, provision of dental services and provision of over the counter medications.
Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. will also employ RNs, as well as nurse practitioners.
The school district currently does not have the service of nurse practitioners with the district health department, but with Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc., two nurse practitioners will be assigned to the district to work with the school nurses.
Of the three health organizations that submitted proposals, Cumberland Family Medical Center had the second highest starting pay for nurses at $24 per hour.
“The reason they are starting with that $24 per hour rate is so that it would also be enough to cover any insurance cost increases that the nurses may face as a result of this transition,” York said.
The nurses are currently earning an average pay of $20 per hour with the district health department.
The summary sheet also featured information regarding health insurance costs for the nurses.
A single health insurance plan with the district health department currently costs the nurses $988.56 per year. With Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc., the single health insurance pan is $520 per year.
Both the district health department and Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. offer Anthem health insurance.
Retirement information was also included on the summary sheet.
The district health department offers retirement benefits through the Kentucky Retirement System for the nurses.
Cumberland Family Medical Inc. offers a 401K with a 6 percent match.
As for paid time off, the nurses currently receive 11.5 days with the district health department, but will get 10 days with Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc.
Both Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. and the district health department offer $20,000 life insurance coverage.
School Board Member Tammy Groce explained after the special-called meeting that she preferred Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. over the other health organizations because of the benefits offered to the nurses, as well as the amount of days the nurses will be paid. The nurses will be paid 185 days with Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. verses 173 days with the district health department.
“They all provided comparable services for the students,” she said.
The main issue was how the nurses were going to be effected, Tammy Groce said.
Two school board members, Shelly Groce and Dr. Joey Newberry, recused themselves from voting.
Groce is employed by Glasgow Pediatric Associates. The parent company for the medical practice is Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc.
“Even though I couldn't vote, I got to look at the proposals just like everybody else and what that boiled down to was zero costs to the district,” Shelly Groce said. “Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. and Family Health Centers Inc. both came in at zero costs to our district. And that coupled along with the mental health services that are offered through Cumberland is probably what (helped determined the decision).”
Newberry is a dentist and said he didn't feel comfortable voting on dental health coverage.
York said she felt good about the decision the school board made.
“I feel like they are going to be able to provide a wealth of services for our students and staff, as well as continue to meet the needs of our nurses in a similar fashion,” she said.
Cumberland Family Medical Center Inc. will be providing mental health services to the school district, which it has not had in the past through the district health department, she said.
“We currently in Barren County currently employ two full-time, certified mental health professionals that serve district, so you are talking about those two people serving 10 schools,” York said. “In additional help that we can receive from Cumberland will only benefit our students with more staff trained in those areas in our buildings meeting the needs of our students.”
Present for the special-called school board meeting were the school nurses who are currently employed by the district health department.
After the meeting, Lindsay Huff, who is the school nurse at Park City Elementary, said: “We are ready for a new start. We can't wait to get started.”
Neighboring school systems were facing the same dilemma as Barren County. The Caverna Independent School District is partnering with Med Center Health and the Glasgow Independent School District and the Metcalfe County School District are working with T.J. Regional Health Inc. The Monroe County School System employs their own school nurses.