The grant money will ensure Telehealth accessibility from kindergarten through 12th grade. 

The University of Mississippi Medical Center will provide more of the state’s students access to Telehealth thanks to a $17.6 million grant from the State Department of Education. Funding for the grant is provided through American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III.

The grant will create a Telehealth delivery system within kindergarten through 12th grade schools to give students greater access to care including urgent care and behavioral health care during school hours. This will also increase accessibility to healthcare for students in rural areas.

The goals of the grant are “far-reaching and visionary” said Dr. Saurabh Chandra, UMMC’s chief telehealth officer. “This has the potential to not only improve the health outcomes in the school-going population, but it is an investment in the future of Mississippi by helping create a healthy and educated workforce.”

“Healthy students learn better. Implementing this telehealth program for Mississippi’s K-12 students will better ensure health issues are identified and treated,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “This program can potentially reduce absenteeism, help parents and guardians get quicker access to services for a child and even save lives.”

UMMC’s Center for Telehealth has more than 200 sites in 73 of Mississippi’s 82 counties.

The expansion will: 

  • Create a telehealth delivery infrastructure for all eligible schools in Mississippi. This includes need assessment of individual school districts/schools and delivery, setup, maintenance and training of all nursing staff on the required telehealth equipment and clinical workflows.
  • Implement telehealth delivery services in remote urgent care, remote behavioral health, promotion of dental health via education of school nurses by providers from the UMMC School of Dentistry, and lifestyle coaching of students at risk for developing diabetes.
  • Undertake continuous quality improvement that will include ongoing evaluation of the program in terms of quality outcomes and monitoring process measures such as use and student enrollment.

“The Center for Telehealth at UMMC has a long history of implementing innovative telehealth programs throughout the state, including schools,” Chandra said, “and we share the vision of the Department of Education to enhance access to health care in schools for every K-12 student in our state.”