In early 2019, a third grader at Midway Hills Academy told his teacher he “couldn’t see sometimes.” He went to a vision screening at a health fair provided by the Lions Club. He was referred to an eye doctor, who in turn referred him to a specialist for possible glaucoma and optic nerve damage.
While this student ultimately received the care he needed, others were not. That’s because in Baldwin County, where 29.4% of children live in poverty, families often don’t have access to quality health care or insurance, particularly for preventative care.
All that changed when the Bee Well School-Based Health Clinic opened at the Early Care Center in Milledgeville in October 2019. The facility serves all students and their families, as well as employees of the school system.
“It’s a life-changing opportunity for our children and families,” said Janet Cavin, Baldwin County Family Connection coordinator. “Before, families that got a preliminary eye exam and doctor referral may not follow through. Now all that is taken care of through the Bee Well Clinic, because of the relationships we have with eye doctors, dentists, and mental health professionals in town. It’s taking out that middle step and enabling families to have better access more quickly.”
The clinic is the result of a partnership with Communities in Schools of Milledgeville/Baldwin County (CIS), Baldwin County School District, Georgia College, and Community Health Care Systems Inc.