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A new health hotline and telehealth service provided in partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) will deliver access to health resources and care for public school students. The services will be provided by the Hawaiʻi Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn Program (HK) and will launch on Friday, May 1.

The HK program is part of UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene and offers school-based health services during the academic year and nursing coverage from registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (APRNs) to every HIDOE complex area in the state.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic shifting classes to online learning, HK will offer a no-cost health hotline and telehealth visits as an extension of services provided to students in the traditional school health room.

“This partnership helps to ensure continuity of care for public school students during this unprecedented health crisis,” Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami said. “Students and families can call the health hotline from anywhere. They will receive health guidance and may be scheduled for a telehealth visit when appropriate. Students will be referred to the appropriate medical and/or mental health care when indicated.”

Health hotline and telehealth visit

The health hotline can be reached at (844) 436-3888 (toll free) and is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding holidays. HIDOE students and families who call the hotline will speak with an RN or APRN. The nurse will perform a basic triage assessment over the phone regarding the caller’s health concern or question about their child. The caller may receive basic health advice or information and, with parental consent, the student may be scheduled for a telehealth visit with a HK nurse practitioner. Nurses staffing the hotline have been working in schools statewide and are familiar with many families and students.

HK nurses will screen for general health concerns and can connect students with other service providers such as HIDOE support staff such counselors, social workers, school psychologists or other medical referrals. Families with medical insurance will be asked to provide their insurance information, but HK will not bill or collect copayment from families.

The health hotline and telehealth visits do not replace a student’s primary care provider but provide families with an alternative way to access health services while supporting social distancing. HK will be sending a note to primary care providers for the telehealth visit. By calling the health hotline, HIDOE students and families can be assured they will speak with a nurse who will answer health questions about their children.

Learn more about the Hawaiʻi Keiki health hotline or telehealth services from the UH Mānoa nursing website.

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