Zufall Brings School-Based Care to High-Need Franklin Township

Zufall Health recently welcomed patients to our very first school-based health center! The new center, located on the campus of Hillcrest Elementary School in Franklin Township in Somerset County, marks Zufall’s tenth clinical site.

A school-based health center (SBHC) is a health care facility within a school or on school grounds. The SBHC staff and school nurse work collaboratively to enhance the health and well-being of students, reduce absences, and maximize capacity for learning.

Zufall’s Franklin Township SBHC will make high-quality, affordable health care accessible to the 1,100-plus medically underserved students of Hillcrest Elementary School and nearby Hamilton Middle School, their families, and residents year-round. Medical care will be temporarily delivered on Zufall’s Highlands Health Medical Van, and will ultimately move to a 24’ x 60’ ADA-compliant modular building. Dental services will be provided on the Zufall Health Delta Dental Mobile. Additional clinical needs will be addressed through transportation to Zufall’s nearby Somerville site and by telemedicine.

“The school-based model of care is consistent with our philosophy of going where our patients are,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Eva Turbiner. “We are thrilled to partner with the Franklin Township School District to bring much-needed services to children and families where they learn and live.”

The SBHC’s location was selected primarily for its high need. 17 percent of households qualify as low-income and 69 percent of residents identify as members of a racial or ethnic minority group in Franklin Township. Chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, obesity, and dental cavities are prevalent among children in the community. Additionally, 20 percent of students in the selected schools do not have health insurance or regular access to primary care. In fact, 92 percent of new entrants to Hamilton Middle School did not have a fully compliant physical exam and 64 percent of sixth graders were missing one more required vaccination at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Appointments are available through the end of August, just in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year, at 500 Franklin Blvd Somerset, NJ 08873. Parents or guardians can schedule a visit for their child at 908-526-9040.

Initial funding for the Zufall’s SBHC comes from the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. Zufall is one of 125 health centers that received a SBHC grant this year.

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