Tennessee School Board Considers Athletic Trainer Expansion



Tennessee School Board Considers Athletic Trainer Expansion

Greene County Director of Schools David McLain said one of his goals when he assumed the district’s leadership role was to get full-time athletic trainers into the system.

This aspiration may come to fruition at no cost to the county.

On Thursday, the Greene County Board of Education heard a presentation from PT Solutions, a private-practice physical therapy group. Their proposal would place four full-time, state-certified athletic trainers in the schools.

Michael Hemby with PT Solutions told the school board this would come at no cost due to the partnership between PT Solutions and Takoma Regional Hospital. The athletic trainers would be stationed at schools and athletic events to provide response to and ongoing treatment of sports injuries.

“We do this at no cost to the schools at all,” Hemby said, “no cost to the county, no cost to the schools, from top to bottom.”

Hemby said this represents an investment of around $50,000 per school.

“So it exceeds a quarter-of-a-million in an investment to Greene County and the community and the schools, which I think is desperately needed,” Hemby said.

Hemby said an agreement with PT Solutions may save the county in the long run, should an injury lead to litigation issues. He said many school systems fail to place trainers in schools until this occurs.

“This is the first time that somebody has made a full commitment to doing this, and they’re going to do it right,” said Allen Nance, a Greene County native who works with PT Solutions.

No vote was taken on the proposal. The document will be sent to County Attorney Roger Woolsey for his review. Members of the board hope to consider the agreement at the panel’s Feb. 25 meeting.

“I think this is great for our school system,” McLain said Friday morning. “This is huge for us.”

The athletic trainer proposal was not the only matter relating to student well-being discussed by the board on Thursday.

The board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with eMD Anywhere, a telemedicine services provider. The company presented its proposal to the board in December, but consideration was tabled until Woolsey had an opportunity to review the document.

Through the agreement, a nurse practitioner would be placed within the Greene County Schools system to provide medical assessment and care to both students and faculty remotely or on-site as needed.

Services offered would include sports physicals, well-child exams, sick visits, flu clinics, allergy testing, immunizations and staff physicals.

Sharon Smith with eMD Anywhere told the board in December that the services would come at no cost to the county. Per the agreement, eMD Anywhere will collect co-pays and deductibles as appropriate from patients treated and bill for all medical services using standard billing practices.

She said employees can schedule appointments during breaks and students can come during school non-academic time.

The agreement would be for one year and includes five one-year automatic renewals if neither party terminates the agreement.

The services are to be implemented by the start of the 2016-17 school year.

“I think this goes along with what we were talking about with the trainers,” said Chairman Rick Tipton. “This is a benefit for the kids and the teachers and everyone in the school system, all employees.”

Also approved was a bid for the purchase of five 78-passenger buses. The bids were awarded to Central States Bus Sales for $425,750 or $85,151 per bus.

Central States’ was the higher of the two qualifying bids. Mid-South Bus Center submitted $84,650 per bus.

Transportation Supervisor George Frye said the recommendation to accept the higher bid followed a conversation with the school system’s head mechanic, who feels the quality of buses provided by Central States would save money in the long run. He also said it has been a practice of Central States to offer free shipping.

“We feel like, even though this initial cost is higher, over the life of the bus we’re going to have some significant savings,” Frye said.

In other business, the board approved:

* a number of policies on first and second reading. Many of the policies required approval due to date and reference updates.

* procedures pertaining to disposition of equipment and fixed assets.

* out-of-state trip requests.

* a Title II budget amendment.

* a non-faculty coach at Chuckey-Doak Middle School.

* a vocational budget amendment.