School board OKs contract with eMD

Published 8:26 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A contract to allow telemedicine clinics to operate in the Carter County school system passed with little fanfare or discussion during a Board of Education meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The special called meeting was held to discuss a contract between the school system and eMD. Under the terms of the contract, eMD will provide a nurse practitioner and medical equipment for a clinic site in each of the county’s schools. The school system will provide the space and the on-site school nurse.
The telemedicine system uses the Internet and video chat technology to link the nurse and patient in the school to a nurse practitioner who can work with the nurse to diagnose and treat the student, including prescribing medications such as antibiotics.
Companies who provide this service, such as eMD, make their money by billing the insurance of the patient like a regular doctor’s office would.
During the Board’s June meeting, the group postponed approving the contract until it could be researched further and a few changes made.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the school system’s attorney John Banks noted some changes had been made to the contract during the negotiations.
“Since our staff is essentially doing paperwork that eMD is benefitting from, and it is my understanding there will be more paperwork, eMD has agreed to pay a reimbursement of $6,000 for those clerical services,” Banks said.
One other change Banks noted was the method in which disputes would be handled if any arise between the school system and eMD. Under the previous contract, disputes would be arbitrated by a third party at a location outside of Carter County. The new contract provides a new remedy – any disputes which cannot be otherwise settled will be heard in Carter County Chancery Court.
The contract with eMD will be for a one year term. At the end of that term the parties can renew the agreement or negotiate a new one, Banks said. The current agreement can be cancelled by either the school system or eMD if the other party breeches the terms of the contract, Banks added.
After updating the board on the changes, Banks offered his opinion on eMD and the contract.
“They are good to work with and they want this contract,” Banks said. “I think it will be a benefit to our kids.”
“We hope they make money from it and we hope it helps our kids get better medical care,” he added.
After Banks’ remarks, Board Chairman Rusty Barnett asked for a motion from the group regarding the contract.
Board member LaDonna Boone made a motion to approve the contract and her motion received a second from fellow Board member Steve Hyder. No members of the group spoke during discussion prior to the vote.
The contract was approved unanimously with Boone, Hyder, Barnett, Kelly Crain, Craig Davis and Tony Garland all voting in favor. Board members David Buck and Ronnie McAmis were absent from the meeting.

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