Oregon: Critical need for school nurses

Aug 23, 2017, The Lund Report: Oregon Schools Leaving Millions in Federal Medicaid Dollars on the Table A pilot project will help nine schools apply for federal funding to cover the healthcare costs of children in special education. Other states have used this funding stream to put a nurse in every school, and even small states like Montana bring in many times more money than Oregon. A bill passed at the end of the legislative session last month could help the Oregon Department of Education show the way to getting more nurses placed in schools by providing a funding stream to offset the cost of providing care for special-needs children. Oregon has one of the worst school nurse-to-student ratios in the country -- nearly 4,700 students for every nurse, and 79 of the state’s 197 school districts have no school nurse at all, leaving non-medical professionals like school secretaries and principals to assist students with medical needs…. The largely untapped federal Medicaid funding stream exists to help pay for the care of special education students, which schools are already required to provide by law to ensure that every child gets a chance at a public education…. School districts can only apply for the Medicaid money for kids in special education who are assessed with an individual education plan, but that new outside revenue would go into each district’s general fund, and help offset the costs of hiring a school nursing team to care for the expensive medical needs of these children as well as childhood bumps, bruises and ailments, such as the rising costs of managing childhood diabetes and asthma.