School board votes to contract with WellSpan Health

By on June 5, 2019

Cocalico athletes will have a new support system next school year, following a vote by the school board May 20 to approve a first-ever contract with WellSpan Health.

The five-year agreement calls on WellSpan to provide licensed athletic trainers for all games and practices at a base rate of $24,000 annually. The York-based medical system will also provide a physician for home football games and provide additional trainers as needed at $30 hour.

School district officials have called the contract a steal, noting the York-based hospital system will likely lose money over the life of the contract. But it gives WellSpan, which took over at Ephrata Community Hospital in 2013, a new foothold in the community.

“We get a lot for not a lot of money,” Nathan Van Deusen, assistant to the superintendent, said at a previous school board meeting. He noted that larger entities entering the training field offer a full continuum of services.

Last November, WellSpan opened a sports medicine practice in Brownstown, which could provide physical training and orthopedic services for Cocalico athletes. Students seen there would use insurance or pay privately for those services.

WellSpan already supports Ephrata Area, Manheim Central and Lampeter-Strasburg school districts and Lancaster Country Day School with some training staff or physicians oversight. WellSpan also provides all training services for eight districts in Adams and York counties. The agreement with Cocalico is its first full-service model in Lancaster County.

“We are most definitely looking to develop new relationships in the Lancaster County market and build upon the WellSpan name,” Matthew Lawrence, program director for WellSpan Sports Medicine told the Review in an email. “WellSpan’s mission of, ‘working as one to improve health’ has helped guide and drive the WellSpan Sports Medicine vision of providing high-quality, comprehensive sports medicine care using a multi-disciplinary approach to meet the healthcare needs of anyone who engages in a physically active lifestyle. We have worked to develop regional networks of sports medicine care to meet the needs of our local communities.”

Under the agreement, WellSpan will also provide concussion testing and treatment through Dr. Andrew Stein, a pediatric neurologist at WellSpan Neurology.

The board also agreed to Use IMPACT computer-based testing to measure athletes’ baseline brain activity and any symptoms that arise after a diagnosed concussion.

WellSpan will provide on-field first aid; post-injury triage and care coordination; injury prevention programs; strength training, conditioning and nutrition counseling; and emergency planning for athletic venues.

In exchange, the district will allow WellSpan to advertise its sports medicine practice at the Eagles football field and in the gymnasium. Services such as physicals or walk-in clinics may also be advertised on scoreboards or game announcements.

The agreement runs through June 2024, with an option to continue for an additional two years at an increased cost of 2.5%.

The district planned to sit in on interviews for the trainer May 22. School officials said Monday they hoped to hire the same trainer who currently supports Eagle athletes.

The district’s current contract with CPRS Physical Therapy ends this summer.

Kimberly Marselas is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.

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