Press Release

May 25, 2007


State public health department recognizes School Health LINK, Inc. for its excellence in pediatric care and childhood injury prevention initiatives

Health organization honored with Community Service Award  

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Preparedness and Response Medical Director Dr. Sam Gaines presented the School Health LINK, Inc. with a special pediatric care award today for its contributions to childhood care. The Ron W. Lee, M.D. –Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards are given annually by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program to recognize those dedicated to pediatric emergency care and childhood injury prevention initiatives. Individuals or organizations can be nominated in one of three award categories - Lifetime Achievement, Clinical Excellence and Community Service.

This year’s recipients of the Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards are:

  • Community Service - School Health LINK, Inc., Rock Island
  • Clinical Excellence – Colleen Bingham, MD – St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, Effingham
  • Clinical Excellence - Susan Fuchs, MD – Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago
  • Lifetime Achievement – W. Robert Elghammer, MD – Elghammer Family Center, Ltd., Danville

“There are many children and families in Illinois who have limited or no access to health care, but Schools Health LINK, Inc. has helped fill that void in the Rock Island area,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Eric E. Whitaker. “The goal of working with the Rock Island County Health Department, area schools, hospitals and medical providers to bring health care and prevention services to children and adolescents in Rock Island County is very deserving of this year’s Community Service Award.”

School Health LINK, Inc. (LINK) opened its doors in Silvis, Illinois in 1995 and served United Township High School students as well as their nine feeder schools. LINK quickly expanded to include school age children and adolescents in Rock Island County. During LINK’s second year in operation, 1,000 student were served and the number has steadily grown to an estimated 7,500 students served for fiscal year 2005. As the patient care list continued to grow and after conducting a needs assessment and public interest meetings, a second LINK clinic was opened in the city of Rock Island in 2000.

LINK continues to provide services that are based on community need. All charges are based on family size and income. LINK is a safety net provider and will never refuse care due to inability to pay. LINK accepts the Illinois medical card and the All Kids state health insurance program. LINK works closely with schools and families to ensure transportation of students from school to the clinic with minimal loss of classroom and parental work time. LINK collaborates with all area schools, social services agencies, local medical providers, dentists and local hospitals.

The impact of LINK in Rock Island County includes:

  • Every Rock Island County school nurse indicated that LINK had improved immunization rates, improved asthma care of their students and decreased absenteeism according to a survey administered by LINK in February 2006.

  • LINK serves all school-age children in Rock Island County regardless of income or health insurance status. In 2006, there were 23,635 students in Rock Island County schools, including 10,045 from low-income families.

  • 3,236 unduplicated school-age children and adolescents received ongoing services from LINK in 2006, with more than 5,000 office visits conducted.

  • 300 school-age children received a dental health referral.

  • In Illinois, school health centers save an estimated $585,000 to $855,000 each year by reducing asthma hospitalizations, 42.5 million per year by reducing emergency room visits and $1.77 million per year by providing immunizations (Center for Impact Research, 2006)

  • Due to the increasing need of mental health services demonstrated by LINK patients, funding was received in December 2006 from Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation to provide counseling services to school age children and adolescents in Rock Island County.

  • During 2006, 54 children and their families received counseling services from the Licensed Clinical Social Worker and 200 children and their families received increased knowledge of their mental health diagnosis from the medical staff.

  • LINK provides ongoing education to students, parents and teachers on health related issues, immunizations, safe sex and STD’s, and mental health issues.

The Illinois EMSC program is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Public Health and Loyola University Medical Center. It was established in 1994 to ensure that the emergency medical care needs of children are adequately addressed.

The Ron W. Lee, M.D. Excellence in Pediatric Care awards are presented each May. Dr. Lee was the director of emergency medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and was instrumental in establishing and fostering the EMSC program in Illinois. He passed away in 1998.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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