Summit County Colorado, March 21, 2017: Summit Community Care Clinic, Early Childhood Options and Right Start, launches EC Cares, to provide free access to the Summit County Community Care Clinic for all Early Childhood Teachers at licensed care facilities here in summit County.
A common challenge for Early Childhood teachers in Summit County and across the country is lack of regular health benefits. In August, representatives from Early Childhood Option, the Town of Breckenridge and local Child Care Centers created a working group to find a solution to this problem.
One of their first meetings was with Helen Royal, Chief Executive Officer of the Summit Community Care Clinic (SCCC). In a short one hour meeting they came up with a framework to create a program that would to provide access to the Care Clinic for teachers across Summit County. With a draft plan, the group approached Early Childhood Options about using Right Start Funds to help pay for this program. The timing could not have been better, as the Board of Directors at Early Childhood Options had recently prioritized and funded Recruitment and Retention programs in their Right Start Budget for 2017.
Funded with Right Start tax dollars, the pilot program provides access to all Summit County Early Childhood Teachers working in licensed care facilities to basic health services at SCCC’s main clinic location or any of their School Based Health Center sites. The EC Cares program will provide access to well care, acute care and behavioral health care to any and all teachers who are working in licensed care facility here in the county. Jennifer McAtamney with the Town of Breckenridge said, “With the astronomical cost of health care here in Summit County we considered it imperative to find a solution to this pressing problem. We needed to make sure the teachers of our youngest children had access to basic medical care. When strep is going around a preschool, you want to know that your teachers can get a strep test and antibiotics when they need them and not have to struggle just to pay for the diagnoses.”
Helen Royal, CEO of the SCCC said the EC Care program touches on a larger community health issue. “While EC Cares does not take the place of regular health care insurance, it gives these teachers a home for health here in the County. Once the participants begin receiving services, SCCC is also able to assist teachers with navigating the maze of health care for additional services or coverage. SCCC believes this pilot project can serve as a blue print for other community organizations or companies.”
“Healthy teachers are better equipped to take care of the local children of working parents. When teachers know they can access care, there is less absenteeism, more consistency in classrooms and better morale in our schools”, said Lucinda Burns from ECO.