What’s at Stake for Schools and Students in Health Care Debate?

"As Congress considers how to reform the nation’s health care system, the decisions made on Capitol Hill could well have a profound impact on schools and their most vulnerable students. How? The most obvious answer is financial. By now we know that Congress is not content to simply repeal the health care plan then-President Barack Obama pushed through seven years ago. Republican lawmakers are...

With Half of California’s Kids on Medicaid, Advocates Worry About Service

California’s Medi-Cal program has grown to cover nearly half of the state’s children, causing policymakers and child advocates to question the ability of the taxpayer-funded program to adequately serve so many poor kids. In the past two years alone, the program has added nearly 1 million young people up to age 20, including those newly eligible for Medi-Cal coverage under the Affordable...

Children’s Health Insurance Program Deserves Funding

"Insuring kids isn't just an act of kindness; it's an investment in a better-educated, healthier and more productive population." In what may be a hopelessly quixotic effort, supporters of the federal Children's Health Insurance Program are trying to persuade Congress to renew its funding almost a year in advance — and in a lame-duck session. Nevertheless, lawmakers ought to heed that call....

“School-Based Health Centers” Could be the Future of Medicine for Teens

This isn't your mom's school nurse; it's a full medical center—in a high school. These school-based health centers are taking off in D.C. Here's why that's a good thing. While a school nurse can hand out band-aids and Tylenol, Jason Beverly, a medical provider at Anacostia Senior High School, can prescribe and administer antibiotics, allergy meds and more. Beverly is part of a movement in...

California’s Enrollment Success Is Its Greatest Challenge

California is coming face to face with the reality of one of its biggest Obamacare successes: the explosion in Medi-Cal enrollment. The numbers — 2.2 million enrollees since January — surprised health care experts and created unforeseen challenges for state officials. Altogether, there are now about 11 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries, constituting nearly 30 percent of the state's population. ...

A Healthy Child is a Better Student

 "I want to be a paleontologist," my young male patient said, squinting at a wrinkled clipping from the newspaper of a dinosaur skeleton at the museum as I examined him. An impressive aspiration for a 10-year-old who looked like he needed glasses, but more so because his family was homeless and had none of the resources that could propel a more fortunate child toward his goal. But like the tens...

Medicaid Waiver Renewal Process Starts

State health officials this week will start the lengthy process to renew California's federal 1115 Medicaid waiver -- the state's five-year health care reform project. The "Bridge to Reform" included many of the state's delivery and payment reforms in recent years, including the expansion of Medi-Cal to include Californians up to 133% of federal poverty level. The waiver is due to expire in...

Many Steps To Go Before Authorizing Autism Therapy As Benefit, State Says

Paradigm Note: For school districts participating in California’s LEA Medi-Cal Billing Option Program (LEA Program) it’s important to note that these developments, while important, do not impact the list of services that are billable under the LEA program. Behavioral health services are not a covered service under the LEA program and would therefore require a state plan amendment (SPA) to be...

Bill Sidesteps Governor, Accepts Grant

If you can't beat 'em, legislate 'em. Bucking one provision from the governor in the recently adopted budget, a new bill co-authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) and Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) will be presented in the Assembly Committee on Health today. SB 18 would accept a $6 million grant from the California Endowment with the intention of drawing down an additional $6 million...

School Nurses’ Role Expands with Access to Students’ Online Health Records

Although the school nurse is a familiar figure, school-based health care is unfamiliar territory to many medical professionals, operating in a largely separate health care universe from other community-based medical services. Now, as both schools and health care systems seek to ensure that children coping with chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma get the comprehensive, coordinated...