PHS Opens New Health Center


Carmen Ezell

Junior Kate Hayes gets her blood pressure taken at the new Coplin Health Center by Nurse Tia Payne.

Carmen Ezell, Staff Writer

The Parkersburg High School Health and Wellness Center is now open in the Mary Lou Hague Sports and Arts Complex. The health center is open to serve students, teachers and people in the community who need medical help or a physician. Most services are free to all, and Tia Payne, who works at the center, described it as “a mix between Med-Express and the nurse’s office.”
The health center cannot help with major injuries, like a broken bone, but they can help more than the usual school nurse can, because they have a nurse practitioner on site. Payne said that the goal of the new health center is to minimize the amount of school missed.
“We are here so that if you have a headache, or period cramps, you do not have to go home, or call your parents to bring you something,” Payne said. “We can give you Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and medicine to help you stay at school. Many absences can be prevented by giving you the medicine you really need.”
Payne also said that students may stay in the health center until they feel better, or until they need to leave. They also allow students to stay there until the end of the day because many kids’ parents cannot pick them up or provide them with the correct medicine to help.
The new health center also provides forms of healthcare including pregnancy testing and birth control. And, as many kids are scared or nervous to ask their parents for these things, everything at the health center is completely confidential. They keep the doors closed while patients are being treated so no one can see in, to ensure privacy and patient confidentiality. The health center also can perform urine tests, blood tests, and immunizations including the shots required for senior year. The center accepts most health insurance plans, and has a wide variety of payment options for people without insurance.
The health center now has behavioral unit that handles mental health as well, and will eventually have a therapist for there four days a week for people who need it. While therapy can be expensive, it helps a lot of people overcome their problems, and having one close to the school would be convenient for when students have a panic attack in class or if someone simply needs to talk to someone.
“We plan on getting a therapist in here because children’s mental health is important. People focus so much on being physically healthy, but overlook the mental part, which is equally important.” Payne said.
There will also be a food pantry and clothing bank for kids who need it. This will be in addition to the one at the school.
To enter the health center in the annex, go through door four, take the elevator upstairs and follow the Coplin Health arrows placed on the ground. It is open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To be able to be taken care of, students must fill out the form that was sent home in January.