SEDRO-WOOLLEY — A project in the works for nearly three years has come to fruition as the Sedro-Woolley School District has opened the doors to its on-campus student health center.

“Kids need to feel good about being at school,” Superintendent Phil Brockman said Monday before cutting the blue ribbon to the Woolley Wellness Center at Sedro-Woolley High School. “They need to feel healthy.”

The center has been operating a few days a week for about two weeks, Brockman said.

The wellness center, a partnership between the district, Skagit County Public Health and PeaceHealth United General Medical Center, provides students with on-site medical care, including primary care and mental health services.

“It’s about breaking down boundaries to health care,” said Sedro-Woolley School Board President Christina Jepperson. “We want our kids in classes, and they can’t be in class if they’re sick and if they can’t get to the doctor.”

School-based health centers are found nationwide, including in more than 50 schools throughout the state.

“The outcomes that can be achieved are just phenomenal,” said Jennifer Johnson with Skagit County Public Health.

After numerous discussions, the school board in May approved opening the on-campus clinic, which is the first of its kind north of Everett.

“I’m already thinking, how am I going to expand this to the other schools,” said Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki, who as a commissioner sits on the county’s Board of Health.

Located just down the hall from the main office, in what used to be student government offices, the walk-in clinic has two exam rooms and is staffed by an advanced registered nurse practitioner and a medical assistant.

In addition to treating injuries, the clinic can also perform sports physicals and give reproductive and sexual health counseling.

“For me as a nurse and a mom, this is huge,” Jepperson said.

Visits to the center are billed the same way as with any other provider, with Medicaid and insurance accepted, and PeaceHealth picking up expenses not covered by insurance.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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