School medical services debated by board

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Granville Junior Senior High School

Discussion rose from Granville Board of Education members following the consideration of who the district would contract as its school physician on July 5.

The decision to contract Community Health Mettowee as school physician for the 2022-25 school years at a monthly fee of $800 per month plus physicals, flu shots and Hepatitis B shots was tabled after other services and advice were considered.

Board member Ed Vladyka started the conversation by mentioning worries he had with Granville not using the same physician, Dr. David L. Foote of Hudson Falls, as many other Washington County school districts.

“One of the concerns I have with this is, when we went through Covid, there were numerous times that we were the only school district that had an outlier doctor and it left Granville kids in a precarious situation because the county wasn’t stepping in, the rest were all using Dr. Foote who was giving certain advices and our doctor was not giving that advice,” Vladyka said.

“I was going to ask Tom (McGurl, Granville superintendent) if he could reach out to Dr. Foote and see if he would act as an advisor if those circumstances arose again so at least when the opinion is handed down, our kids are on the same exact footing as all of the other districts getting the same medical opinion.”

In response, McGurl said Foote is not interested in taking in new clients but could have interest in serving in an advisory role like Vladyka suggested. McGurl said he would be making a phone call to confirm.

“The times we reached out to him last year, he was extremely reasonable with the kids,” McGurl said.

School business manager Cathy Somich said Hudson Headwaters submitted a bid for double the price Community Health Mettowee offered (almost $22,000).

“Cathy, when you say double the money, double the money for more services? Because the physical thing is big for me,” board member Mario Torres asked.

“It’s huge for the schools too,” board member Kimberly Bascom chimed in.

“There’s a lot of parents that can’t get their children in on time, their doctors are inundated especially now, and to get a child in for a physical prior to the start of an athletic season is difficult. So the physical piece is huge for me. I guess my question is more money for more services or more money for the same amount of services (as Community Health Mettowee)?”

“It would be the same amount of services, just they (Hudson Headwaters) would be willing to send their mobile van,” Somich replied.

McGurl then said that if the board was aiming to retain the services of Community Health Mettowee, he would still like to reach out to Hudson Headwaters and get a quote on how much it would cost for only the mobile van to come.

Somich said she had contacted Hudson Headwaters and they declined the request.

Vladyka asked McGurl what the board’s legal requirement was in regard to a decision on the matter the night of the meeting, to which McGurl said the decision could be tabled to a later date.

However, he recommended finalizing a plan before the fall sports season commences next month.

“I’d say, you’d definitely want to have something in place by the beginning of August because we’re going to start practices in mid-August,” McGurl said.