Channelview ISD clinic in danger of closing its doors

December 13, 2010 8:29:26 PM PST
Each month, hundreds of children depend on a school-based clinic in the Channelview Independent School District to get the medical care they need, but that health care could soon go away.

Channelview ISD's clinic is one of 10 in the area that is based in school districts, but it's the busiest so there's definitely a need for it. That's why its future was a hot topic at Monday night's school board meeting.

Ellen Tanner and Cassandra Carsey remember all the times they've used Channelview ISD's school-based clinic for both their children and grandchildren.

"They took really good care of him," Tanner said. "I've used it for immunizations. My son who played football here, he was hurt several times and we used the clinic for that."

"It's very convenient, very helpful," Carsey said.

In fact, 300 children visit the clinic monthly. The clinic has been around for 13 years because of a partnership between the Harris County Hospital District and Channelview ISD -- a partnership that's now on shaky ground.

"If they would actually lose this clinic it would definitely devastate a lot of families here," Tanner said.

Last month, the school district sent a letter to the hospital district informing them their contract would not be renewed after next year.

Dr. Bob Trenschel is proud of the work his staff has done for the community over the years.

"Basically we provide care to individuals who may not have access to care otherwise," Dr. Trenschel said.

Trenschel said he felt blindsided by school board's decision.

"We have not heard specific reasons for this decision," he said.

So after weeks of not knowing, they finally got answers at Monday night's meeting.

"Those numbers you've supplied for us here, we've asked for many, many years to get these things," Channelview ISD Board President Willie Hodson said during the board meeting.

Hodson cited a lack of response to their questions, a housing issue once the clinic's current building is torn down next summer, and late contracts.

"It's been extended until after we have our meeting in January," Hodson said.

Everyone agreed to revisit the issues.

"I'm very encouraged tonight. I think it's always good when the parties talk," Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia said.

And some parents hope it will stay for good.

"We really do need it in this community, we really do," Carsey said.

Monday night's dialogue was considered rare, but the hospital district and Garcia, who is a huge supporter of the clinics, called it promising. More discussion on the issue will be held during the district's next school board meeting in January.


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