By Michael Ollove
A recent federal policy reversal, long-sought by states and health care advocates, could enable schools to take a lead role in managing chronic childhood diseases and result in the hiring of many more school nurses.
The change, announced quietly and unexpectedly last month by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will allow public schools to receive Medicaid money for health services they provide to eligible students for the first time since 1997.
“Children don’t park their chronic diseases outside the school doors,” – Donna Mazyck, exe. dir. National Association of School Nurses.
The policy change had been sought for at least 10 years by states and advocacy groups working in the area of children’s health. CMS declined to comment, beyond the letter it sent to state Medicaid directors announcing the decision.
“It’s still so early, a month into the rule changes, but this represents a tremendous opportunity to address children’s health needs,” said Mary-Beth Malcarney, an assistant research professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health, whose work was used by the coalition of advocacy groups that pushed CMS for the change. Continue reading