Free back-to-school health services in Pinellas

Five high schools in Pinellas — including Gibbs and Boca Ciega High — are offering free medical care, by appointment only, for back to school. Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of the program.

Parents and local students still have a few days to take advantage of free health services before the start of the school year.

Florida Health Pinellas County is sponsoring back-to-school clinics through August 8 at five county high schools: Boca Ciega, Gibbs, Largo, Northeast, and Pinellas Park. They are open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and serve K-12 patients (no pre-K) by appointment only. Call 727-824-6900 and select menu option #4.

Services included in the tour – at no cost to clients in need – include school/sports physical exams, vision/hearing screenings and vaccinations. Some locations in Pinellas offer free eye screenings and basic dental services. Parents or legal guardians must bring their child’s medical and immunization records and be present for services.

The high schools selected for these clinics are based on several factors such as a high percentage of free or reduced lunches; a high number of young people with significant discipline problems and a history of risky behaviour; and a high incidence of chronic health problems.

“School Health Services staff deliver effective, quality on-site health care and provide the infrastructure needed to treat overweight, obesity and other chronic conditions; providing care for acute illnesses; work to mitigate comorbidities among at-risk high school students; providing culturally appropriate primary and emergency preventive health care; and improves the overall health status of a largely uninsured and medically underserved population through shared school and community resources,” according to officials.

Prevention and early intervention services include pregnancy or STD testing, medical evaluations, physical exams, substance abuse counselling, case management, dental health education, diabetes, nutrition education, health education and health promotion.

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