It’s not too early for parents to check off a major task from their to-do list as five healthcare providers from Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River (NHCPR) will be on-hand Saturday, May 18 for a mass back-to-school physical event.
“With the school year ending soon, we know we’ll be getting a lot of kids who need physicals done for summer camps and other activities, so we figured we’d do an early mass physical day on a weekend with a number of our providers so it doesn’t eat up patient access during the week,” said Simone Wilkinson, supervisory clinical nurse. “And that way, parents will also be able to get their back-to-school paperwork done early and there won’t be a rush come September.”
Wilkinson explained that nearly every program or summer activity requires its own health-related paperwork to be completed before a child can participate, and the school system requires completion of the State of Maryland Schools Record of Physical Exam form.
“And since physicals are good for 12 months, the information provided [in May] will fulfill necessary paperwork requirements in the school system come September,” Wilkinson noted.
While the head-to-toe physical – which includes a vision check – might only take about 15 minutes, the paperwork is what tends to slow down the process.
“We’re encouraging parents to bring the paperwork to the clinic ahead of time, prior to their appointment, and drop it off at the front desk,” Wilkinson said. “There’s a portion for the parents to fill out and then there’s the medical section that gets signed off by the provider. By bringing it over early, we can get at least some of it done – like printing off an immunization record and attaching it – and then by the time of the appointment, the physical itself wont’ take long at all.”
The clinic held two mass physical days last year, and each event was fully booked. There are still plenty of appointments left for May 18 because this particular event has the most healthcare providers participating at one time.
“If this goes well, we’re going to try to have another one because we are going to have an exodus of providers this PCS season,” Wilkinson added. “We’re going to be left with only three doctors over the summer until we get more in, and that’s another reason we’re trying to get it done early.”
The event covers children ages 4 through 18 years, and the clinic does college physicals also.
“Be proactive; get your back-to-school physical done now,” Wilkinson said. “You can book an appointment at Tricare online if you have an account set up, or you can call the appointment line at 301-342-1506.”
The event runs 8 a.m. through noon, with the last appointment scheduled at 11:20 a.m.