Federal grant will pay for health centers at two Pasco schools

<p>Ochoa Middle School</p>

Ochoa Middle School

Students in Pasco will soon have easier access to health care thanks to a half a million dollar federal grant.

The money will pay for the creation of two brand new on-campus health clinics at two Pasco schools.

The clinics are being designed to provide preventative care and health care education, to keep more students safe and healthy.

Pasco parent Martin Tovar says having a health clinic at his daughter's middle school across the street from the family's house will make life a lot easier.

"I think it's a great idea" said Tovar.

The US Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded $500,000 to Tri-Cities Community Health in Pasco.

The money will be used to build a school based health center at Chiawana High School and Ochoa Middle School.

"I think it's awesome because most of the kids have problems, and some don't know where the nurses office is and I think it's great for those kids" said Irene Tovar, student.

The purpose of the health centers is to provide primary care to students - the clinics will basically be miniature versions of Tri-Cities Community Health's main center on Court Street.

Service providers will give immunizations, physicals and regular check-ups.

"In sports, you hurt yourself. It may be the first place to go. It may be, they can take care of the problem there" said Al Cordova, Tri-Cities Community Health CEO.

The two health centers will be created in a portable-like space on the school's campuses, and they'll be open for all students in the Pasco School District.

"This is a good way, for example, to get children vaccinated, where we can keep the records there" said Cordova.

Tovar says with Pasco's growing population, more options for health care is a huge benefit, and they will help make sure his daughter stays healthy.

"I mean, absolutely, it's a very good idea" said Tovar.

The two new health centers are expected to be up and running between 8 and 10 months.

The $500,000 will pay for the set up of the two centers.

Operating costs will be paid for from families who use the centers.

Tri-Cities Community Health applied for the grant.

$500,000 is the most amount of money it could have received.