Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

July 6th, 2017

Webinar: Supporting our Most Vulnerable Students

Often students who miss 9-7 days per semester, (or 10 percent or more of days) face serious hurdles in getting to school, such as ongoing health concerns, lack of a safe path to school or bullying. These students might also be involved in foster care or the juvenile justice system and could be experiencing factors beyond their control.

Teachers and other educators aren’t expected to address these complex needs on their own. Instead, they need to know how to join with other staff, and tap into the resources and supports offered in order to make a greater impact in improving attendance for these vulnerable students.

Join Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works, and a cross-section of speakers for The Secret Formula 1+2+3: Improving Attendance for Our Most Vulnerable Students, on 2 pm ET on August 8* as they discuss how to lay the foundation for a positive culture of attendance for all students by providing a warm and engaging start to the school year. Speakers will also address how educators can work across agencies to ensure additional supports for our most vulnerable students, including those who are living in public housing, involved in the foster care system, or are exposed to trauma.

Presenters include:

  • Ayeola Fortune, United Way Worldwide
  • Dr. Martha Merchant, University of California, San Francisco
  • Silvia Cordero, San Francisco Unified School District
  • Janet Meeks, Delray Beach School District
  • Minsun Meeker, National Center for Youth Law’s FosterEd CA
  • and Hedy Chang, Attendance Works

This webinar will also feature the newest resources from Attendance Works including our teacher toolkit, Teaching Attendance 2.0 with new messaging materials, and the indispensable Attendance Awareness Month resource Count Us In! toolkit.

Don’t miss out on this free webinar! Register here.

* Special Note: We are likely to exceed the webinar room capacity of 500! Please note that once you register you will receive the webinar recording, PowerPoint slides and other materials whether you attend or not. You might consider organizing a separate session to watch with a group using the recording and discussion guide. Guests are welcome to log in 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the webinar.

Posted in Elementary, Health, Secondary | Comments Off on Webinar: Supporting our Most Vulnerable Students

April 26th, 2016

Helping Newly Insured California Families Get Care

By Kristelle Jose, The Children’s Partnership

When students suffer from untreated health problems, they are more likely to perform poorly in class and often miss school altogether. Yet caring for a child’s ailments such as asthma, diabetes, poor vision and too many dental cavities is often nearly impossible without access to health insurance.

In May, California will begin to provide the full scope of medical benefits, including preventive care, to undocumented immigrant children younger than 19 in lower-income families under Medi-Cal, the state’s public insurance program. Beginning in the 2015–2016 school year, public schools are required to provide information to families about their health coverage opportunities and enrollment assistance at the beginning of the school year.

By collaborating with educators and the education community in California, the ALL IN For Health Campaign—a project of The Children’s Partnership—has reached out to families that meet the income limit and enrolled their children into the state’s Medi-Cal health coverage. With coverage, families and children can see a doctor, fill a prescription, and have the peace of mind that health insurance coverage often provides—but only if they understand what having an insurance card can mean for them.

Many people, particularly the newly insured, find health insurance confusing, frustrating, and often overwhelming. Children’s ability to get the care they need depends on their parents’ ability to understand and navigate the coverage system on their behalf. When at least 1 in 3 parents of young children have limited health literacy skills, we know a family’s understanding of health insurance and the health care system will impact a child’s ability to get the care they need. Part of this understanding is knowing the benefits that are available through health coverage.

A key benefit under Medi-Cal, for example, is access to preventive services, such as well-child visits, immunizations, and developmental screenings for children, with no additional out-of-pocket costs. Access to regular, preventive health care is a key element to helping all children and families become healthy and stay healthy. Preventive care is particularly critical to children’s development, helping them thrive, stay in school and grow up to become healthy adults.

Research makes it clear that treatable and manageable health problems are behind many excused absences from school. Asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism, accounting for about 14 million absences each school year, or one- third of all days of missed instruction, research shows. Children between 5 and 17 years miss nearly 2 million school days each year nationwide due to dental health problems. And some children miss school simply because they don’t have the immunizations required for enrollment.

As Medi-Cal coverage becomes more widely available in California, an important step to ensuring kids are able to obtain the health care they need is helping families to better understand what the coverage benefits are and how to enroll. Beyond the basics of navigating an unfamiliar health care system, parents need the right information to understand how preventive care can keep their kids healthy and in school every day possible.

Educating families about how to use their insurance and the importance of preventive services is critical to the well being of children and their ability to be in school every day and achieve. We are excited to continue our work with the education community to better the health of California’s students and families.

To learn more about how to spread the word about regular health care visits for kids check out ALL IN For Health Campaign’s materials.


Posted in Announcements, Featured Article, Health | Comments Off on Helping Newly Insured California Families Get Care

February 10th, 2016

Revised Medicaid Policy Can Increase Access to Health Services At School

Alex Mays, Senior Policy Analyst, Healthy Schools Campaign

We know that student health issues are a leading cause of chronic absenteeism. So making sure that kids have access to school health services – physical, dental, and behavioral – is an important part of strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism. The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently took an important step towards increasing access to school health services for students. In a letter to State Medicaid Directors, CMS removed a major barrier to school-based health care services and clarified that the free care policy does not apply to schools.

Since 1997, the free care policy has made it difficult for schools to receive Medicaid funds to pay for services that are available, without charge, to everyone in the community. Since school health providers serve the entire school community, many of the services they provide to Medicaid beneficiaries were considered not eligible for reimbursement. As a result, school health providers are typically underfunded and many students across the country do not have access to regular school health services. For example, less than 50% of students have access to a full-time school nurse, according to research from the National Association of School Nurses.

Research supports a clear link between providing kids better access to school health services and a drop in chromic student attendance. Allowing students to receive health services at school is a proven strategy for addressing the health conditions that interfere with a child’s ability to learn. This is especially true for younger students in K through 3rd grade, where research shows that just two days missed per month, whether excused because of illness, or unexcused, leads to academic trouble for students as early as the 5th grade.

The reversal of the free care policy presents an opportunity for schools and districts to increase access to school health services for students. The change also can make it easier for districts to provide the medical care and attention that many students need to stay healthy, so they are able to attend school every day. Student illnesses, such as colds and earaches, to more long-term health challenges such as asthma, diabetes, vision impairment and mental health issues, are a leading cause of chronic absenteeism.

The free care policy has been the focus of dispute for a number of state agencies. In 2004, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services ruled that the free care policy, as applied to school districts, has no basis in federal Medicaid law, and is unenforceable when applied to schools. In keeping with this ruling CMS recently agreed to reimburse the San Francisco Unified School District for health services delivered to the general student population by school health professionals. Advocates such as Healthy Schools Campaign, Trust for America’s Health and the National Alliance for Medicaid in Education, have been working over the past decade to clarify that the free care policy does not apply to school-based health services.

There is still some work to be done. Before schools can apply for Medicaid reimbursement for health services, each state must decide to allow school districts to bill for additional health services delivered to students. In many states, this will require an amendment to the state Medicaid plan. Louisiana and South Carolina have already passed amendments to their state Medicaid plans to allow school districts to seek reimbursement for additional school health services, and California is not far behind.

One of the most important next steps in implementing this change will be supporting state-level efforts to implement the reversal of the free care policy. To better understand what the change in the free care policy means in your state, and how to leverage this opportunity to support student health services, and boost school attendance check out this stakeholder’s guide on the free care policy created by Healthy Schools Campaign.

We encourage you to spread the word about this recent change and the role that school-based health services can play in reducing chronic absenteeism in your community. We view it as a major important step forward in providing health care for students, especially for low-income students who may not have access to affordable health care. This revised policy also clearly supports the important connection between good health, learning, and student achievement.


Posted in Featured Article, Health, State News | Comments Off on Revised Medicaid Policy Can Increase Access to Health Services At School

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