Rosecrance part of planned school-based health clinic


Mary Ann Abate
Mary Ann Abate

Rosecrance VP for Mental Health Services Mary Ann Abate joined officials from the Rockford School District and Crusader Community Health Thursday in announcing the receipt of a federal grant to offer school-based services for students needing medical, behavioral health, vision and dental care.“Rosecrance is extremely excited to collaborate with District 205 and Crusader to offer care our children so desperately need,” Abate said. “Now, more than ever, I believe we are coming to understand how important it is for children and adults alike to have access to quality behavioral health care when they need services.”

Rosecrance will place a licensed social worker at the clinic to help students who need help with substance abuse and mental health issues. Referrals will be made to the Rosecrance services for mental health issues and substance abuse.

Gordon Eggers, Crusader CEO, said at a press conference at school district offices Thursday afternoon that Crusader “would not want to do this without Rosecrance and a behavioral health aspect.”

School Supt. Robert Willis hailed Crusader, Rosecrance SwedishAmerican Health System and Dr. William Hillman of the Primary Eye Care Center of Rockford as “solid community partners with a history of service.”

Rockford Public Schools has received a $500,000 federal grant that will allow the district to move forward with a school-based health center, which will provide services to more than 3,000 students.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services awarded more than $80 million to 197 school-based health centers across the country.

“The need for these services is well documented and will enable children with acute or chronic illnesses to attend school as well as help improve their overall health and wellness through health screenings, health promotion and disease prevention,” Eggers said.

The federal grant will cover half of the center’s start-up costs, and is made possible under the Affordable Care Act. The district also received a $50,000 grant from the state. The center is expected to operate five days a week, year-round. District officials anticipate the center will open this summer, in time to provide school physicals and sports physicals for the 2013-14 school year.