Grant Application

Anne Marie Kuchera, MS, MA, RD, LPC, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Proposed Innovation

Over 20 million children across the United States lack proper access to primary care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the participation of children in key health services declined even more, particularly among those from low-income households. Children are supposed to spend 180 days each year learning in the classroom. But many days are missed due to health reasons that may, or may not, require a doctor’s attention

Through this project, UPMC Children’s Hospital will establish a school-based telehealth program aimed at reducing unnecessary school absences and improving access to pediatric care for children.

Improvements in Action

Using UPMC’s existing Anywhere Care platform, a pilot program will be launched in three Pittsburgh area schools during spring 2022 and the 2022-23 school year. The UPMC Children’s Anywhere Care@School program will provide services to those students whose families choose to enroll in the program. A school nurse will determine if a student needs to be seen by a pediatric provider and schedule video visits with an on-call pediatrician or advanced practice provider at Children’s Hospital. Telehealth will be offered for non-urgent conditions, such as ear infections, respiratory illness, asthma, and skin conditions.

Intended Outcomes

In addition to reducing unnecessary absences, this program is expected to improve the overall health and well-being of area youth. Parents will benefit because they can remain at work if their child can be treated and stay at school. Lessons learned from this pilot program will inform planned expansion to more schools and the possible addition of other health care services.