Two hundred children who attend the AVANCE-San Antonio Head Start program at Fenley Center will receive on-site health care through a new nurse-led clinic at the school. The Fenley Center is a child-development campus in the Harlandale Independent School District.
The new clinic will offer preventive screenings and primary health care for enrolled children through an agreement between the UT Nursing Clinical Enterprise, an initiative of the School of Nursing, and AVANCE-San Antonio, which provides Head Start services.
“This is our sixth nurse-led clinic in the UT Nursing Clinical Enterprise, with the seventh and eighth clinics in development,” said Julie Novak, D.N.Sc., RN, M.A., CPNP, FAANP, FAAN, executive director of the clinical enterprise. She also is a professor and vice dean of practice and engagement in the School of Nursing.
The new clinic will be accessible to all 813 children enrolled in Head Start in the Harlandale ISD. Through the program, the parents and guardians of the children also receive health education from certified pediatric nurse practitioners, a registered dietician, licensed vocational nurses and AVANCE-San Antonio staff.
“For each clinic, we start with a half day and add additional days and services as we increase the patient base and funding,” Dr. Novak said. “At Fenley, children come in for their clinic appointments on Tuesday afternoons. As the patient volume grows, we anticipate providing child health services three to four days a week.
In addition to exams for common childhood illnesses, the children will receive Texas Health Steps assessments including: height and weight measurements, physical exams, developmental assessments, hearing evaluations and blood tests for anemia and lead exposure.
Advance-practice nurses specializing in behavioral health will join the team this fall, Dr. Novak added.
Kathryn Parke, D.N.P., APRN, CPNP, and Rollie Rockett, M.S.N., RN, CPNP, as well as Josie Alfrido, LVN, provide care at Fenley. Dr. Parke said she recently saw a young mother with a 9-month-old daughter who had not been examined by a doctor since birth. “The mother also has a 6-year-old son. The mother was unaware that her children, who were born in the U.S., were eligible for Medicaid,” Dr. Parke said. She referred the mother for Medicaid enrollment assistance so her children could receive vaccinations and dental exams.
Dr. Parke and Rockett also examined young Anthony Silva. His mother, Alexandra Silva, said, “I like having the clinic here at the school. It will help in case of an emergency.”
In order to expand the six nurse-led clinics, Dr. Novak authored and secured a contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program, as well as a grant from the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation to fund the AVANCE clinic expansion. Dr. Novak said, “We’ve had a wonderful partnership with AVANCE-San Antonio at its location on Castroville Road for the past six years. We are thrilled to expand to a second AVANCE clinic site.”