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‘We don’t want to be a well-kept secret’

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Schools may be keeping their doors closed, but school-based health centers are not.

While Albuquerque Public Schools students are attending school remotely, health centers are still seeing the district’s students on site and through telemedicine visits.

The centers see all APS and APS-authorized charter school students.

Beth Muller, University of New Mexico Medical Group School-Based Health Center operations director, said students may not know these resources are available.

After closing in the spring, the UNM Medical Group clinics reopened Aug. 10. During that first week, they saw 10 students, but medical director Mary Ramos said the aim is to grow that number.

“We don’t want to be a well-kept secret,” Ramos said.

“We know that in this context of pandemic COVID, there’s absolutely increased needs for services, particularly behavioral health, and also some decreased access,” she added.

Muller said masks are required, social distancing measures have been put into place and cleaning has been ramped up. Patients are also screened for coronavirus symptoms before their visit.

Also in response to the pandemic, Muller said the UNM Medical Group clinics started offering telemedicine visits through Zoom, too.

She added that students can use APS-issued or personal devices to utilize the online option.

Ramos said students are seen regardless of insurance or immigration status.

Insurance is billed if students have it. But if they don’t have insurance, they aren’t billed for services, according to Muller.

Health centers offer physicals, reproductive and sexual health services, vaccines and behavioral health care, such as therapy, among other services. School-based health centers don’t provide COVID-19 testing or treatment.

A list of all health centers in APS schools and contact information can be found at APS.edu.

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