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Sunnyside schools, hospital to build new medical clinic

Sunnyside is set to add another medical clinic to serve the community as the Sunnyside School District and Sunnyside Community Hospital recently partnered to receive a $500,000 federal grant.

The grant was announced last week by the national Health and Human Services agency.

Sunnyside is one of 278 school-based health center programs funded through the $95 million grant package announced last week.

"These new investments will help school-based health centers establish new sites or upgrade their current facilities to keep our children healthy," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "These new or improved sites will help ensure effective, efficient and high-quality care."

School district spokesperson Curtis Campbell said the new clinic here will serve medical needs geared to students, such as health screening, sports physicals, pregnancy support, diabetes, asthma, drug and alcohol addiction, as well as immunization.

The school-based health center here will actually be located about a block from Sunnyside Community Hospital, according to Campbell.

The $500,000 grant will build a new clinic here with students in mind, but details beyond that are still to be worked out.

Campbell said the hospital and school district will hold meetings to work out a plan on constructing the clinic building, as well as a strategy on how the two agencies will divvy up staffing and day-to-day costs.

"A lot of the programming has not been determined. There are no programming dollars in the grant," said Sandra Linde, a hospital employee who assisted grant writer Sue Jetter in applying for the funds.

She said the Sunnyside School District asked the hospital to partner for the grant because the dollars schools received for drug and alcohol treatment now have to pass through a student health center.

Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole said the clinic will work in partnership with school nurses.

The clinic will be free to students, but adults will have to pay for services, Cole said.

Cole noted the pregnancy support program at the new clinic will be the same one currently operated through Sunnyside Community Hospital. He said the services do not include abortions.

Linde said the hospital and its existing clinics "have the capacity to serve every child," but noted the student clinic should make access easier.

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