Healthy Learners Having Impact On Local Children

In the changing health care world, the health and well-being of Dillon’s children today will have an undeniable impact on the future of the county. The children served by Healthy Learners Dillon are children who have limited or no access to basic health care. They are children who are enrolled or had been enrolled in Medicaid; and/or who face transportation and/or economic barriers; or fell through the cracks of the Medicaid re-enrollment process — all of which contribute to failure to access basic health care. Healthy Learners, a state-wide nonprofit community outreach ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, is committed to ensuring that children in need are provided with access to doctors visits and other health care services, necessary transportation to appointments, the coordination of care, and all follow-up care, including medications. By receiving access to necessary medical care, these children have improved general health and
increased opportunities to succeed in school now and in the future.
Since 2005 when Healthy Learners Dillon began to operate, the program has provided 689 children with access to 3,085 health care services. More than 56,076 miles have been traveled to meet the unmet health needs of these children. During the most recent school year, 172 children received access to health care.
Sometimes asking for help from a stranger is not easy, and often, when help is offered it may seem to good to be true, but a gift of access to a health care provider can mean the difference between receiving the medications you need and not. Healthy Learners Dillon makes this kind of impact every day thanks to community investments, volunteerism and hard work.
Prior to school ending for the year, the Healthy Learners Dillon program helped several students receive their medication for Attention Deficit Disorder. The importance of the students having their medication before state testing was stressed by their teachers. Once the medicine was delivered to the school nurse, she later told the Healthy Learners staff how thankful the teachers were and what a difference it made in the ability of the children to focus and take the test.
The role of the Dillon program is to partner with school nurses and community health care provider groups to connect children to physicians and other caregivers to get the treatment the children need. The children served are often the same children who may eventually drop out of school and join the ranks of the unemployed, perpetuating the cycle of poverty in our community.
Healthy Learners Dillon saves the community money by providing staff to accompany the children to their health care appointments, which allows parents to remain on their jobs, and connects children with a medical home, thereby decreasing the usage of the emergency room as a primary care provider.
Healthy Learners Dillon Improves School Performance: Because healthy children are better able to learn, based upon parent’s surveys, students have seen improved grades and better test scores.
Healthy Learners Dillon is Cost-effective: By offering primary and other medical care in appropriate settings at an average cost of only $223 per medical service versus the average ER charge per visit of $1,286, costly emergency department visits are reduced for Healthy Learners Dillon students. The Healthy Learners Dillon program increases access to care and saves the State in Medicaid and uncompensated care funding by reducing ER usage for non-emergent care.
Conclusion: There is no other organization that does what Healthy Learners Dillon is doing for Dillon County’s children. Dillon will reap on-going benefits by investing in the health care of our neediest children. The benefits for children will be improved physical and mental health, improved school performance, and dollars saved in future health care and educational expenditures. Your investment in Healthy Learners Dillon will help to ensure that we have healthy children, better students and a thriving community.
For more information about the Healthy Learners Dillon office and how you can help call them at (843) 774-1907 or by mail at Healthy Learners Dillon, 400 East Jackson Street, Dillon, SC 29536.

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