A collection of government and local leaders are launching a new effort to care for Prince George’s County children.
“Convoy of Care” brings eight mobile medical and dental units to 175 county schools loaded with health and dental care equipment and personnel. The program was officially launched Wednesday at G. James Gholson Middle School in Landover.
“The greatest thing we can do is to make sure you are healthy,” County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said to the 100 students who attended the launch.
The program is a partnership between the county government, school system and five area health partners: Children’s National Medical Center, Mary’s Center, University of Maryland School of Nursing Governor’s Wellmobile, the Prince George’s County Health Department’s Deamonte Driver Dental Project/Colgate Dental Van and SMILE Maryland.
The health partners provide the mobile units, which come to the school on a rotating basis, said Christy A. Lipscomb, a press information officer for the county executive. Bi-weekly, monthly or bi-monthly visits will be determined by the provider and school administrator, Lipscomb said.
Marcee White, the associate medical director at Children’s National Medical Center, said program costs are absorbed by the partners, who bill insurance companies and who rely on philanthropic support. She said that because it is a new program additional information as to specific costs could not be provided.
Appointments are not necessary and non-emergency care is provided, Lipscomb said. Children do not have to qualify for care, and notes and consent waivers are sent home with students to inform parents when the provider will be at the school, she said.
Schools chosen for the program are all located in the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative areas — identified targeted zones county officials seek to enhance.
Gabriela Diaz, a student at Gholson who attended the launch, said she welcomed the program.
“I am excited to have easy access to doctors and dentists,” said Gabriela, 13, of Hyattsville.
The new initiative should also be useful to some of her fellow students, Gabriela said.
“Some of the students don’t have access, so it’s a good opportunity,” she said.
Verjeana M. Jacobs, school board chairwoman, said success in the classroom can only happen if students are prepared for the work.
"This initiative meets our students' and families' needs by providing convenient access to health care,” she said. “Our students now have the health care they need to be successful inside and outside of the classroom."
A list of schools that are participating in the program and a schedule of when the units will be at the schools will be posted on the school system’s website, www1.pgcps.org, the county executive’s website, www.princegeorgescountymd.gov, and the county health department’s website, www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/health.