On Monday, Oct. 12, Congressman Brad Wenstrup and State Senator Joe Uecker were on hand at Manchester Local Schools to announce that the Community Action Committee of Pike County Valley View Health Centers) received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in the amount of $152,000 to purchase dental and vision equipment for the Manchester School-Based Health Center. Congressman Wenstrup indicated that school-based health centers will play an important part in delivering high quality primary care and oral health services to children in rural areas. In addition, the funding will add up to six additional jobs at the Center.
Also present at the ceremonies was Woody Jenkins of the Delta Dental Foundation. Mr. Jenkins announced that Delta Dental was granting $39,000 to Valley View Health Centers to further assist with purchasing expensive dental equipment for the Manchester site.
As a result of the funding provided by ARC and Delta Dental, Valley View Health Centers will have three state-of-the-art dental operatories, and will start delivering dental services to children and adults as of Jan. 1, 2016. Unlike some other school-based centers, adults in the community will be able to access dental services based on a sliding fee scale. An Open House is planned for Jan. 8t 2016.
The funding from ARC will also allow for the purchase of vision equipment to allow for needed vision services. The importance of addressing vision problems at an early age cannot be overstated according to Cindy Balzer, Valley View Health Centers Director. She further indicated that having vision services on-site will be very convenient for parents and children.
Other good news for the Manchester School-Based Health Center was the recent award by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of $280,038 to assist with operational costs of the Center. These expansion dollars will assist with salaries of new personnel and other associated costs as dental, vision, and case management services are added.
Gary Roberts, Executive Director of the Community Action Committee of Pike County, indicated that the Manchester School-Based Health Center has been providing medical services since August of 2014, utilizing a full-time family nurse practitioner. According to Roberts, the addition of dental and vision services will make Manchester one of the most comprehensive school-based health centers in Ohio. The ultimate goal according to Roberts is to improve the health status of children, reduce absenteeism, and to improve academic achievement.
Roberts credits the success of the Center to the commitment of the School Board and the administrative staff at Manchester Local Schools. He indicated that none of this would be possible without their support and enthusiasm.