School Health Partnerships: Building on Success – Part Two

April 07, 2014

Innovative partnerships happening between the health and education sectors

Last Friday, we shared examples of innovative partnerships between the health and education sectors that support student health and learning. The lessons that can be learned from these partnerships are especially valuable as we consider how to support school health within the Affordable Care Act, a key focus of the National Collaborative on Education and Health .

Through our work with the Collaborative, we’ve identified many ways the education and health sectors are partnering to provide health services to students and have selected the following five to highlight:

1. Nonprofit hospitals

2. Managed care organizations

3. Local health department

4. Academic institutions

5. Health systems

You can read about the first two examples in Friday’s blog. Today, we’re excited to share information about the final three examples on this list:

Local Health Departments Providing Health Services and Staffing

Local health departments can play a critical role in increasing access to school health services through many activities including facilitating partnerships between local care providers (such as vision and dental clinics) and schools, providing financial support to schools, working with school-based health centers and by providing health professional staffing in schools.

For example: In Hopkins County, Kentucky, the school system contracts with the local health department to provide nurses and clerks. The local health department bills Medicaid for the care provided for students with Medicaid under the Medicaid Preventive Care Program. Currently, the federal government pays 80 percent of Medicaid, and the state is responsible for 20 percent. This revenue fully funds the school nurse program.

Academic Institutions Working with Schools to Provide Health Services and Education to Students

Academic institutions, including research hospitals and schools of medicine, nursing and dentistry, can implement research efforts or partner with schools to provide health services, health education and additional programming.

For example: Stanford School of Medicine played a key role in evaluating the project in San Jose Unified School District which documented the impact full-time school nurses can have on student health and learning. In Oakland, Calif., University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Schools of Nursing and Dentistry faculty and students are partnering with the Elev8 Oakland Initiative to provide quality, in-school health care to children in underserved communities. For example, UCSF is placing advance practice nursing and dental faculty, providers and students in the Elev8 School Based Health Centers to provide physical, mental and dental health services, case management services and health education to Elev8 students.

Health Systems Supporting the Coordination of Care and Health Programming

A number of health systems are working with the education sector to increase the access to and quality of care available to students and provide health programming.

For example: As a part of Kaiser Permanente’s ongoing commitment to community health, Kaiser is leading Thriving Schools, a comprehensive effort to create a culture of health and wellness for students, staff and teachers in K-12 schools. The focus of this initiative is healthy food, active living and school climate. Through Thriving Schools, Kaiser is working to implement programming and share resources that support student health.

In another example, Nemours has developed NemoursLink, which provides school nurses secure electronic access to select portions of their patients’ medical records. School nurses who work in Delaware Public Schools can use NemoursLink to access a student’s plan of care and see information about every visit a student makes to Nemours Children’s Hospital or to a Nemours physician’s office. With access to this information, school nurses can better manage care for students with chronic disease or complex care needs.

Through the National Collaborative on Education and Health, we will continue to work to ensure these partnerships are supported and that the role schools can play in meeting the goals of the Affordable Care Act is recognized. You can read more about our effort to re-think the role schools can play in the transformation of our health system in our Health in Mind report.

We look forward to continuing to learn about innovative partnerships between the health and education sectors and encourage you to share any examples you are aware of in your community.