Hazel Health, the national leader in school-based telehealth, and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, announced a new collaboration today to provide streamlined pediatric specialty care to more than 500,000 K-12 students in Florida.
Hazel Health provides whole child health programs focused on physical and mental health for nearly 2 million students in districts across the country, including Broward, Duval and Polk counties, as well as other Florida districts. Through Hazel’s telehealth services, students can connect directly with licensed medical professionals for on-demand care, whether at school or at home. Earlier this year, Hazel launched its Early Assessment, Response and Treatment protocol, or Hazel HEART™, to expand mental health services and increase community-based care capacity. With HEART, students connect directly with licensed therapists at school or at home for short-term, evidence-based counseling.
Hazel’s case managers connect students with long-term care providers when needed, such as pediatricians and family practitioners, dentists and therapists. However, some conditions require more specialized care. Through this new collaboration, Nicklaus Children’s will offer specialty services to pediatric patients initially seen by Hazel’s healthcare providers for primary care, virtual urgent care, psychiatry, ongoing mental health counseling, chronic care and other subspecialty care services.
“Nicklaus Children’s is committed to taking care of children and making pediatric specialty care accessible throughout our region and beyond,” said Matthew A. Love, President and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Health System. “We are pleased to collaborate with Hazel Health to offer our renowned specialty resources to school-age children in communities throughout Florida.”
The collaboration comes at an important time for pediatric physical and mental healthcare. In many communities, wait times for services have increased due to significant demand. A Hazel referral to Nicklaus Children’s will result in a streamlined process that minimizes wait times and incorporates case management to facilitate a student’s follow-up appointments. It also supports communication between providers to ensure continuity of care.
Dr. Travis Gayles, Chief Health Officer of Hazel, explained, “We know that the health of our children impacts the health of the whole community and their own academic success. Healthy kids are less likely to miss class and are better able to focus on their academic trajectory. By creating a direct line of access between Nicklaus Children’s and Florida’s school districts with Hazel Health, Nicklaus Children’s services will help to build up student wellness, creating healthy communities as a whole.
“The healthcare system can be challenging to navigate, and as a result, many children do not have a primary care physician (PCP) and also lack continuity of care,” said Andrew Post, a lifelong educator and Chief Innovation Officer at Hazel Health. “Since school health offices are often the first point of contact when children need healthcare, Hazel can welcome families into the healthcare space, connecting them to a primary care physician, while also linking them to subspecialty services they need at Nicklaus Children’s. This approach will simplify the process of making appointments with new providers and help to improve health outcomes overall.”
It is the mission of Hazel Health to transform access to pediatric care in schools to improve the quality of children’s lives and combat the systematic inequalities that prevent millions from receiving proper care. With Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s support, specialized pediatric physical and mental healthcare can be provided in a manner that is effective, efficient, and accessible to ensure that all children can thrive.