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Kendrick Vows to Champion School-Based Telehealth

State Representative Kip Kendrick said he sees school-based telehealth as a way to bridge the gap between rural youth and access to quality medical care.

Kendrick, who represents Columbia, made these comments at a legislative summit last week for Boone County representatives hosted by the Youth Advisory Council and Youth Community Coalition.

School based telehealth connects medical specialists to children through the use of video communication. A student can stand in front of a screen in the school’s exam room with a nurse and be seen by a medical professional located elsewhere. It has been used to help treat children with many conditions, including mental illnesses, who have difficulty accessing medical care.

“The research on school-based telehealth shows decreased hospitalizations, decreased ER visits, decreased mortality rates, increased school-performance, increased school-attendance. It’s truly remarkable,” Rep. Kendrick said.

Kendrick sponsored a bill in the last legislative session that would have made schools an approved site for telehealth, allowing services to be reimbursed through Medicaid. The bill failed, but Kendrick said he is committed to finding a way to bring this service to the state, and even making Columbia a pilot community.

“We’re still pushing this,” he said. “I’m actually working on a work group this summer with Medicaid, studying an internal rule change, on making this a reality…It’s going to take champions and I continue to champion this across the state.”

Kendrick also told the crowd he supports Medicaid expansion broadly under the Affordable Care Act in Missouri. 

Abigail Keel is a senior student at the Missouri School of Journalism. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and grew up hating the drone of public radio in her parent's car. In high school, she had a job picking up trash in a park where she listened to podcasts for entertainment and made a permanent switch to public-radio lover. She's volunteered and interned for Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago, IL, and worked on the KBIA shows Faith and Values, Intersection and CoMO Explained.