An online newsletter produced by EdSource
with support from The California Endowment 


. 29, 2016
Issue 45
Student Health Care and Webinar
Family nurse practitioner Glenda Leflore examines Fremont High School student Brianna Star Hernandez at the Fremont High School Wellness Center. Credit: LA Trust.

The role of schools in providing, and being reimbursed for, health services to students could shift dramatically now that a change in federal Medicaid policy is moving toward implementation, said Erynne Jones, co-author of a new report for the California School-Based Health Alliance.

The national policy change by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid in December 2014 ended the so-called "free-care" rule that prohibited schools from billing Medi-Cal for services provided to Medi-Cal eligible students, such as hearing or vision screenings, if the school provided such services to other students at no cost.

Now the California Department of Health Care Services and the federal agency are hashing out exactly what health care services at California schools will be covered for Medi-Cal eligible students.

The change "has opened the door for reimagining the role of schools in the broader health care delivery system," Jones wrote. The state's proposal for Medi-Cal covered services included mental health counseling, nutrition assessments, physical therapy and visits to a school nurse. Last month, the federal agency asked for more details.

"Schools will be asking,'What am I now doing that I could get reimbursement for?' and 'What are services I haven't been able to provide?'" said Jones. 

Health insurance coverage for low income students has been found to significantly improve rates of high school graduation, college enrollment and college completion, according to a 2014 paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Hosted by the California School-Based Health Alliance, this webinar will provide an overview of the findings in their new report, produced by Harbage Consulting with support from The California Endowment*, "Policy Considerations for California Following the 2014 Reversal of the Medicaid 'Free Care' Rule." The report offers insight into California's implementation of this change and suggests ways to expand the role of school health services.
*The California Endowment also provides support to EdSource but has no control over editorial content.

What: 'Free Care' Reversal and Recommendations for CA
Who: California School-Based Health Alliance
When: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 10 a.m. PT
Register here.

Ambitious, costly and long-term strategies are used in schools every day to improve student performance, but the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services recently advised schools to keep it simple. If schools want to take one action to boost student attendance, health, behavior and learning, they should help uninsured students enroll in health insurance, the departments said. They also suggested numerous other ways to strengthen the link between health and education services. 

Read more at EdSource Today.
Student Discipline
The Teen Court program at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School has long had a real judge -- .
Torrance Superior Court Judge Steven Van Sicklen -- and now it has a real courtroom, with donated furnishings and wood paneling, next to the campus. The juries are high school students who are enrolled in a justice class. The defendants are teenagers who have committed crimes such as shoplifting or getting into a fight. And the questions from the jury veer into conversations with the defendants about their grades, family life and attendance. Guided by a volunteer lawyer, jury members set the terms of probation, which often include counseling and community service.

Read more.
The number of students expelled and suspended from California schools continued to decline in 2014-15 as more school districts focused on resolving behavior issues without taking students out of class for long periods of time, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said.
School Climate
After 15 years, the Capistrano Unified School District's School Board updated its non-discrimination policy to protect employees and students based on their gender and gender expression, as well as other characteristics such as race, sex and sexual orientation.

Read more.
Student Wellbeing
At a legislator's request, the California State Auditor will audit the cost and results of Los Angeles Unified School District's practice of removing teachers from the classroom, sometimes for hundreds of days, when the district investigates allegations of misconduct.

Read more at EdSource Today.

Special Education
Tobinworld II school in Antioch
A week after a video showed a 9-year-old boy in special education being held aloft as a teacher's aide slapped his face and onlookers laughed, three advocacy groups issued a demand letter to the California Department of Education calling on the state to take "quick and decisive" action to eliminate the improper use of force on students with disabilities in classrooms across the state. 

By Sonia Llamas, Santa Ana Unified

This is Part 5 of an ongoing series on the CORE Districts' work to design a new accountability system.

Sonia Llamas
Research has shown a strong correlation between chronic absence and low student achievement. High rates of absenteeism often contribute to widening the achievement gap among low-income and some minority groups - with the impact showing up as early as kindergarten.

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