Baxter International Foundation $100,000 Grant Will Support Telehealth Expansion to Schools Throughout McDowell and Avery Counties

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SPRUCE PINE, N.C. – School-based telehealth programs in McDowell and Avery Counties are getting a boost from a $100,000 grant from The Baxter International Foundation to Children’s Health Fund (CHF). The award will enable CHF affiliate, Center for Rural Health Innovation, to operate its Health-e-Schools program in all Pre-K through 12th grade schools in the two counties.

Using high-definition video conferencing and specially equipped stethoscopes and cameras, the Health-e-Schools program team works in conjunction with school nurses and family nurse practitioners to address a range of medical issues. These include earaches, sore throats, colds, allergies, and asthma. In addition, telehealth can be used for the management of chronic disease, to conduct sports physicals, and provide mental health counseling.

“During and since the pandemic, schools have renewed their importance as a hub in family life,” said Amanda Martin North, executive director of the Center for Rural Health Innovation. “Education, meals, supplies, connectivity, and even healthcare are effectively, equitably, and efficiently furnished at and public schools. Everyone in a student’s life is critically aware of how important in-person seat time is to learning. Offering healthcare maximizes the time a student spends in class, without missing out on high quality healthcare services.”

“At Children’s Health Fund, we know telehealth is especially beneficial to children and families who live in rural areas, where there are often few doctors nearby. Without telehealth, parents would have to take time off from work and travel far from their homes for even routine medical check-ins or consultations with their children’s doctor,” said Arturo Brito, president and CEO of Children’s Health Fund. “This funding will help ensure the children of McDowell and Avery counties get the care they need and deserve.”

Children without health insurance are more likely to miss preventative and other medical checkups and screenings compared to their insured peers. Telehealth is also expected to be more essential now that both the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies are ending in the United States, which may result in Medicaid terminations for millions of children.

“Increasing access to care is one of our primary focus areas as a Foundation,” said Verónica Arroyave, executive director of the Baxter International Foundation and senior director of global community relations at Baxter. “We are proud to continue to help expand the availability of telehealth services for families in McDowell and Avery Counties.”

The $100,000 grant will be administered by Children’s Health Fund.

About The Center for Rural Health Innovation 
The Center for Rural Health Innovation (CRHI) was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in the state of North Carolina in 2010. The express purpose of CRHI is to “employ new and emerging health technologies to improve access to quality health care in rural communities”. As of 2023, the Health-e-Schools Program serves seven rural western North Carolina counties, as well as four Eastern North Carolina counties, and are in partnership with five other counties in North Carolina, assisting in the development of their programs. The goal of the Health-e-Schools program is to keep students healthy, in class, and provide services that will equip them to be successful during their school careers, thus improving their chances for graduation. Health-e-Schools bring medical services to students via telehealth where they spend the majority of their day – at school.

About the Baxter International Foundation
Every day, Baxter and the Baxter International Foundation strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who depend on our products, and in the communities where employees live and work. The Foundation helps advance Baxter’s mission to save and sustain lives by partnering with organizations around the world to increase access to healthcare for the underserved, develop the next generation of innovators who will lead the way in advancing healthcare and to create a positive, long-lasting impact in communities globally. For more information, please visit Baxter’s Corporate Responsibility page.

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