UNLV’s free clinic expands health care access for East Valley students

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Students at three East Valley schools now have access to free health care services at the William H. High School location. Bailey has access.

The Bailey Clinic is one of two clinics serving Clark County children as part of a two-year pilot program through the UNLV School of Medicine.

Bailey High School was chosen as the site of the free health clinic after a community assessment indicated an immediate need for their services.

“The closest pediatrician is six miles from Bailey High School, so there aren’t that many pediatricians to get to, interstate access is not easy here, transportation is a barrier, finances,” said pediatric nurse Pamela Girgis. .

The clinic offers a range of services, including physical exams for play, vaccinations required for school and resources for other health issues.

Students and their siblings can care for families there on Mondays and Wednesdays for free.

“I know that without that, they have this fear or stigma of the health care system, and then without those services, they don’t have access to care, so kids can do poorly in school. They have headaches,” Girgis said.

“Sometimes they have to go to another doctor’s office or the Southern Nevada Health District to get these shots, which can take weeks or a month, and they miss so much school,” said Daniel Duterte, principal of Bailey High School.

The Bailey Clinic opened in August and initially served only Bailey High School students. Last month, services expanded to students at Sunrise Mount High School and Hickey Elementary School.

But the clinic’s lengthy opening process and limited availability have frustrated some who say the need for these free services extends far beyond the three schools.

“Like Helen Herr down the street has some of the same needs, Bruckman is a little further away when you get closer to Charleston, so it doesn’t have to serve just three schools, but it’s good when we build it. But serving in for months, almost half a year after a three and a half year wait is ridiculous,” said Ed Gonzalez, a community member of the Hickey Elementary School Organizing Group.

Looking ahead to expanding these services to other schools and communities, Gonzalez said the process needs to be more efficient because children can’t wait.

“Kids need these services,” she said. “It affects kids and their education, and if we take years to open something up, then those kids don’t learn well for years because we don’t have the support systems for them to learn, and that’s everywhere.”

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