State law sets requirements for school physicals, and while it’s just another thing on the back-to-school list for some, the Third City Community Clinic says for others it’s an expense they can’t afford.
Volunteer dentists and doctors saw 30 kids in just one day of the clinic’s program this summer, getting them on track for school and sports this fall.
“The school requires that they have these,” says Third City’s executive director Susan Aguilar. “They require that they be seen by a physician, they have an eye test and they have a dental screenings, so we’re doing that.”
It’s not the first full day of free physicals the clinic has held. Aguilar says they’re seeing more people needing help.
“I think it’s partly because there are no jobs. Florida for instance, there’s a high unemployment rate there and they find out that there’s jobs here through friends or relatives,” says Aguilar.
Nebraska law says kids who move from out of state must have a physical to enter the school system. Aguilar says it’s good for the community when more workers come, but while they wait to get insured or transfer insurance, there can be gaps, and a physical can be costly out of pocket.
“They need to have this, they don’t have the money, $150, and most of the places, they want that money upfront, and so we’re here as an alternative,” says Aguilar.
Third City has done school screenings, but now offers sports physicals too.
“We want these kids to get out and have some activity and be involved in sports and in school - we feel it’s very important, partly because of the obesity problem that there is for children,” Aguilar says.
Third City is totally donation and grant-funded, so families have to qualify for the free physicals.
Aguilars says a common insurance gap they see is with Medicaid - it doesn’t transfer from other states to Nebraska, so it can take a month or more to kick in after a family moves here and applies.
The clinic expects demand for school screenings for at least the next two weeks.
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