Ballad Health and Lee County Public Schools partner for school-based telehealth program

Ballad Health and Lee County Public Schools are keeping children and faculty members healthier and in the classroom, courtesy of a new telehealth program.

Telemedicine enables a school nurse to use live video technology to connect students and school staff to a doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner from Ballad Health Medical Associates Urgent Care. The urgent care provider will have the ability to diagnose the patient and send any needed prescriptions to the pharmacy – all from the school nurse’s office.

“Technology gives us more ways to examine how we can reach into our communities and improve everyone’s quality of health,” said Debbie Voyles, Ballad Health’s corporate director of virtual health. “It’s making it possible for us to connect our patients to the right care, at the right time, in the right location.”

Ballad Health and Lee County Public Schools’ telemedicine capabilities include electronic otoscopes, so the provider can look in patients’ ears and throats, as well as electronic stethoscopes. Ballad Health has also provided the schools with testing equipment for common illnesses like strep and the flu.

"We are excited to be able to partner with Ballad Health to improve our overall service to our students, staff and community by providing a new telehealth program,” said Dr. Brian Austin, superintendent of Lee County Public Schools. “Together, we can increase the effectiveness of healthcare providers in our community who serve as our primary care physicians by quickly and efficiently addressing minor conditions such as coughs, colds and similar issues. The communication between and among Ballad Health professionals, our school nurses and our community healthcare providers will help our students' parents and caregivers address students' health needs at school with the support of additional resources after regular school hours.

“This partnership is an example of just one of the endless possibilities that exist when communities and businesses work together to serve children and their families."

To participate in the telehealth program, parents of Lee County Public Schools students can obtain an information packet, which includes consent for the virtual health provider to treat the child, privacy policies and medical history information, as well as an authorization to bill the family’s health insurance.

Parents are invited and welcome to come to the school and be present for the exam. Ballad Health’s providers will also follow up with the parent/guardian after the visit, and if children need further treatment, the school nurse will contact the family. Ballad Health will also fax a copy of the report to the patient’s primary care provider, if that information is given when his or her parent fills out the enrollment paperwork.

“At a time when it might be difficult for family members to leave work or find transportation, we will be able to assist students with their healthcare needs,” said Virginia Hall, lead nurse of Lee County Public Schools. “Telehealth will not only aid in students receiving the care they need, but also in keeping students and staff in school when they’re medically able to be here. As school nurses, we are thrilled to be partnering with Ballad Health and bringing a new level of healthcare to our community.”

Ballad Health’s school telemedicine program is currently in its third year, and it is in place at 108 schools in Tennessee and Virginia.

“Traditionally, most people say if you can’t bring a provider to an area, the patient has to travel to the provider, but that can be challenging in rural areas like Lee County,” Voyles said. “But at Ballad Health, we’re looking at how we can embrace technology to meet our patients where they are, whether it’s at home, a place in the community – or a school.”

Telemedicine is a covered benefit with most insurance providers, and it’s covered 100% under Virginia and Tennessee Medicaid. It’s billed as a primary care visit, or participants can pay a flat fee of $49. Tests, such as those for flu and strep, carry additional charges.

“With telehealth, we’re building a foundation for the future, so our communities can move from healthcare to health – and life,” Voyles said.

To learn more about Ballad Health’s school telehealth program, please visit the school virtual health clinic page.

Lee County School Board swears in new staff & recognizes robotics teams.

The Lee County School Board met for its regularly scheduled meeting on January 9, 2020. At the meeting new members Vera Ely, Nancy Garrett and Garry Williams were sworn in by Lee County Cicuit Court Clerk, Rene Lamey. Additionally, the board recognized members of the Lee County Robot Drone League teams who competed and won the inaugural season of the Steamworks' Robot Drone League. The board also recognized members of Pennington Middle School's FIRST Lego League team who recently received a first and second place in the the FIRST Lego League regional competition.

Lee County Robot Drone League teams finish season as champions!

11 students from Lee County participated in Steamworks’ Robot Drone League’s inaugural season. The season, which began in September, finished Saturday, December 7th with a tournament style competition. Lee County fielded two teams in the competition. At the end of the day, one of Lee’s teams, Lee CoTech was named Champions. This was an amazing feat for all of our students as they all began as complete rookies and ended the season as experienced robot designers, builders, and pilots, and complex coders. We are extremely proud of this group of students and excited to see what’s next for Lee County Robotics. Participating students are Aiden Brown, Claira Cox, Bryce Miller, William "Beast" Miele, Jacob Elkins, Mallory Watson, Alex Williams, Wesley Honeycutt, Brayden Blevins, Luke Young, and Christian Baker

Our Omegaman H.E.R.O. Challenge Winners!

Check out our latest group of in our newest Omegaman video. The links to all our videos this year are listed below.

Group One

Group Two

Group Three

Group Four

Farmer and Miners Bank Mousepad Donation!

Farmers and Miners Bank recently donated 500 antimicrobial mousepads to Lee County Public Schools. Each elementary school received 100 mousepads to be used in the computer labs and testing throughout the school year. Several F & M employees delivered the pads to each school last week and presented them to the principals, guidance/testing coordinators, and members of the student government councils.

“Farmers and Miners Bank is always happy to help out with local projects but this one really had meaning. Our schools are vital to our community and being a local community bank we benefit from seeing our children succeed. Being a part of that is important to our customers and our employees and part of banking like it ought to be.” stated Bill Sage, Chief Executive Officer.

Lee County Public Schools would like to thank Farmers and Miners Bank for their generous donation. Your support means so much, not only to the schools, but to the students you are helping.

Michele Gamble of Lee County Public Schools is Virginia’s School Psychologist of the Year.

Michele Gamble of Lee County Public Schools is Virginia’s School Psychologist of the Year. The award was given September 26 by the Virginia Academy of School Psychologists (VASP) at their meeting in Richmond.

Gamble has worked for Lee County Schools on and off for over 18 years. At the moment she is the only school psychologist covering thirteen buildings in a very rural district with about 3000 students.

“The awards committee was impressed, not only with Michele's commitment and dedication to her county, but to her ability to provide a full-range of comprehensive services, even in the face of being significantly short-handed,” notes VASP President Terri Sisson who presented the award. “Administrators, teachers, secretaries, and even parents wrote letters of support, praising Michele for her high level of service.”

According to her nomination statement, in addition to excellence in providing data driven evaluation services, Gamble is a “first responder” for emergencies in the schools and collaborates with area mental health agencies. She helps parents make the connections. She has a record of advocacy for students, parents, and her profession.

A supporting letter called Gamble’s experience and knowledge “an invaluable resource to parents and teachers.”

A teacher in another supporting letter, sent to the VASP judges, reports that Gamble makes children comfortable during assessment to “see how they learn.” She is reported to then take time with the teachers on “how to best help this student in the classroom.” The teacher reports students return to the classroom smiling and want to go with “that nice lady again.”

Gamble has occasionally learned how she has made a big difference for a student. She recently heard about how a comment she made years ago was taken to heart. “Our words have power,” Gamble says, “and we must use them to bring peace, love, and grace to those around us.”

Gamble’s award is considered the Academy’s Best Practices Award for the school year. It is the highest honor given annually by the Virginia Academy of School Psychologists. Due to her win, Gamble is now slated to be the Academy’s nominee for the national award in 2020.

Steve Fannin, VASP Awards Chair

Middle School Students Enjoy Music, Martial Arts, and Dance Performance

5th grade students from EMS, JMS, and PMS, and students from the LHS Band and Chorus enjoyed a musical performance from cellist, Dave Eggar and company on Wednesday, September 18th. The program, Balance in Two worlds: Music and Martial Arts, sponsored by ProArt featured music from Japan, Brazil, and New Orleans and a variety of Martial Arts performers and dancers.

Flatwoods Elementary School was visited by Mrs. Pamela Northam, First Lady of Virginia

Savannah Tamo from Elydale Middle School wins Lee County Spelling Bee

Pictured Left to Right: Noah Lawson RHES 2nd place. Savannah Tamo EMS, winner. Talmadge Gunter LHS 3rd place