Three Ways to Improve School Health Using Medicaid

January 09, 2017 | Written By:

In early December, the Healthy Students Promising Futures Learning Collaborative held a second meeting to discuss how states can leverage Medicaid to advance school health using new federal policy guidance. It brought together the initial 10 states from the collaborative—and added three new states. States are making tremendous progress exploring their options to improve access to health services in schools.

Healthy Schools Campaign, in partnership with the US Department of Education and Trust for America’s Health, recently held a well-attended webinar that provided a quick update of the meeting. (The webinar was recorded so you can watch it at any point and view the slides!) The webinar and supporting materials is an excellent overview of the state teams’ incredible forward momentum.

The December meeting also showcased three emerging best practices: school-based health centers, telehealth and data sharing. In each of these areas, there are innovative, practical, scalable ideas to help students to access health services and to streamline the process. These are opportunities for all states to consider—and everyone can learn from these models.

Data Sharing

The collection and/or exchange of student health and education information between departments can present a number of challenges that can be overcome with persistence and innovation. The District of Columbia team has successfully initiated a data-sharing program between Education and Medicaid and shared their experience.

School-based Health Centers

School-based health centers provide a unique opportunity to expand access to services in schools. The School-based Health Alliance, a national leader in supporting health services in schools, provided background on school-based health centers, their services and financing, and different models for innovative health service delivery.


Telehealth services can expand students’ access to a range of health and behavioral health services provided by off-site providers. The South Carolina team shared the details of their successful telehealth partnership with a university, including a practical analysis of what makes it work.

These materials may spark conversation, present ideas or even raise key questions for all states to answer for themselves as they look to expand school health services. Exploring these options also makes for an opportunity to expand the group of stakeholders and partners involved in health in schools.

Have you identified other best practices in your state that you’d like to share? Email us—we’re always looking for ways to lift up innovative work and share it to other state teams.

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Note - updated to the HSC Newsletter list 1.3.2017 per the updated newsletter configuration