Parents with teenagers attending Bell Gardens High School may no longer have to get out of work early to take their child to a doctor’s appointment. The school will soon be home to a school-based health center that will focus on the needs of adolescents and families, which will be easily assessable to students on campus.
The Family Health Care Center of Greater Los Angeles (FHCCGLA), a non-profit organization that offers affordable medical services in the Los Angeles area, received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to establish a school based health center at Bell Gardens High School with cooperation from the Montebello Unified School District.
Chief Executive Officer for the health care center, Dr. Albert Pacheco, told EGP that the campus location would make it easier for working parents, and reduce the time students may miss in the classroom.
Once built, parents will only need to sign a consent form allowing their child be seen at the clinic so the student can go to their appointment right after school, Pacheco told EGP.
“We are bringing the services to that particular community of school-aged children,” Pacheco said. “This way we’re making it a lot easier for those families and not creating any more barriers to access health care.”
Pacheco told EGP that the location of the health center will be in an area where there is a high need.
“In this particular area of Los Angeles there’s a big uninsured, low-income population so there’s a big need, and from what I understand, there was a high teen pregnancy rate in Bell Gardens so that presents a dual challenge,” he said.
The health center will help insure teen moms in the area get prenatal care and their newborns get initial care. But the clinic will also be providing preventative measures as well, added Pacheco.
“We’ll offer health-ed that will revolve around family planning and we’ll make [condoms and pregnancy test] available to them if that’s what the teenager seeks,” Pacheco said.
Fees at the clinic will be based on the household income but according to Pacheco, most kids in the area will qualify for Medicaid eligible based programs based on their income.
The campus health center will be located not far from FHCCGLA’s health care center located on 6501 S. Garfield. Although the two clinics will be blocks a part, Pacheco says the campus center will not negatively affect the health care center already located in Bell Gardens.
“There is such an unmet need that even if we didn’t see teenagers or adolescents because we’re seeing them at the school, there’s more people out there,” Pacheco said. “With the school based health center we’re kind of bringing the services there at the school and having it accessible.”
For more information about the health center visit www.fhccgla.org.