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State Board of Education votes to award $17.6M grant to the University of Mississippi Medical Center


SBE votes to award grant to UMMC

The State Board of Education (SBE) today voted to approve a $17.6 million grant to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) to create a telehealth delivery system within K-12 schools to provide remote healthcare and healthcare provider access to students.

MDE expects UMMC to deliver on-demand urgent care and telebehaviorial health during school hours. UMMC services to students will include urgent care, mental health, remote patient monitoring and specialty consultation healthcare.

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to cover the grant. The grant period is from July 1, 2022 through Sept. 30 2024, with a liquidation period ending Dec. 31, 2024.

UMMC plans to begin project implementation March 1 of this year. Clinical implementation will begin July 1 in four school districts and will be completed in all districts by July 1, 2023.

MDE’s goals for the telehealth services program are to:

  • Provide Mississippi school districts and charter schools that currently have a school nurse on staff or contract with the equipment needed to effectively implement and manage the delivery of telehealth services to students.

  • Improve the overall healthcare outcomes of students in Mississippi by increasing student access to primary, acute and specialty healthcare providers.

  • Expand healthcare offerings to Mississippi students beyond diagnosis and treatment to include services that focus on health maintenance, disease prevention and health education for students, families and school personnel.

“Healthy students learn better. Implementing this telehealth program for Mississippi’s K-12 students will better ensure health issues are identified and treated,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “This program can potentially reduce absenteeism, help parents and guardians get quicker access to services for a child and even save lives.”

UMMC’s Center for Telehealth, which has more than 200 sites in 73 of Mississippi’s 82 counties, currently implements a comprehensive telehealth program in various settings that address healthcare needs of Mississippians and others. UMMC plans to leverage resources of its Center for Telehealth to:

  • Create a telehealth delivery infrastructure for all eligible schools in Mississippi. This includes need assessment of individual school districts/schools and delivery, setup, maintenance and training of all nursing staff on the required telehealth equipment and clinical workflows for the delivery of telehealth services.

  • Engage stakeholders at all levels to include MDE leadership, school district administration, parents, school nurses, teachers and other staff, local providers and community resources to identify common goals and key performance metrics to measure success of the program for each individual community.

  • Operationalize and implement telehealth delivery services in the following key areas: remote urgent care, remote behavioral health, promotion of dental health via education of school nurses by providers from the UMMC School of Dentistry, and lifestyle coaching of students at risk for developing diabetes.

  • Undertake continuous quality improvement that will include ongoing evaluation of the program in terms of quality outcomes and monitoring process measures such as use and student enrollment.