In-School Clinics Pay Off
A Kentucky district's in-school health clinics are keeping students healthy and cutting absences.
For many common ailments, a trip to the school nurse isn't enough. Ear infections or conjunctivitis, for example, typically send students home to visit their pediatrician—or an emergency room, if they have no health insurance. Meanwhile, they miss valuable class time. But in one Kentucky school district, students can go to one of two in-school health clinics, staffed by advanced nurse practitioners. After receiving treatment and medication, they can often go back to class. Treatment is paid for by the student's health insurance, or, if they don't have insurance, it's free.
"We don't know anyone who's doing it like we are," says Madison County Schools superintendent Tommy Floyd. The LearnWell Clinics opened last August, the result of a partnership with the local Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center. The hospital pays all the costs for staff and medical equipment. For the district, the clinics are a bargain: It only has to provide space, electricity, and other utilities—costs it would pay anyway. The district and the hospital will review the clinics' effectiveness at the end of the school year. So far, many students and parents have expressed approval—and gratitude. "I got a hug the other day from a mama who came to the central office all smiles and tears because her child was seen by the clinic," Floyd says. "I think it's worth doing."
CDC: Flu Shots to stay in Schools
The extraordinary effort that went into making flu shots available at schools this year should continue, says Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Tom Frieden. States administered 259 million doses to fight H1N1, according to the Tampa Tribune. Although the federal government pays for the vaccine and most associated costs, some schools still paid up. In Florida's Hillsborough County, almost one in four students received the vaccine, and the district paid $500,000 to cover staffing.
Has Your Cafeteria Passed Inspection?
More than 18,000 schools fail to have their cafeterias inspected twice a year, as required, according to the CDC. The inspection rates vary widely among states, with more than half of NY and California schools failing to be tested twice, but just one percent of Maine schools missing this mark.
Kids and Concussions
A series by New Jersey's Star-Ledger examines concussions among student athletes and what can be done to prevent more injuries. In high school sports nationwide, more than 400,000 concussions occurred last year. Horror stories abound, including a Montclair, New Jersey, football player who died after sustaining a second brain injury in a month. Perhaps NJ will follow the lead of Washington state, which passed a law last year requiring athletes under 18 suspected of having a brain injury to get written consent from a doctor before returning to play.