Resources for States

States play an important role in supporting and implementing policies that incorporate student health and wellness. We offer targeted resources related to education policy and school health services.

Education Policy

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), with its focus on equity and the whole child, provides key new opportunities for states to build education policy and practices that honor student health and wellness.

State Policy Opportunities: Advancing Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems to Support Students

October 2022 | This report, developed with Mental Health America, identifies 24 state policy opportunities to address student mental health needs. Specific recommendations, and the numerous state examples and resources provided, offer opportunities to advance comprehensive school mental health (CSMH) systems — a multi-tiered approach that integrates mental health services and supports within school settings and uses school-community collaborations to provide a continuum of mental health services.

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State Education Policy that Supports Student Health and Wellness

August 2019 | This document describes key sections of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with the highest potential to impact student health, outlines current state efforts, highlights best practices and provides recommendations for advancing this work at the state and local level.

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School Health and Chronic Absence Diagnostic Tool

March 2019 | This tool is intended to help school districts identify and address the health-related causes of chronic absenteeism. This version was developed for use in California but includes information that can be used by districts in other states and can serve as a template for states to create a similar tool for districts in their state.

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School Health Services

School districts are permitted to seek reimbursement for all eligible school-based health services delivered to all Medicaid-enrolled students. For many states, leveraging this opportunity means changing their state Medicaid plan. Healthy Schools Campaign offers programming and resources to help states increase access to, and funding for, school health services.

School Medicaid Expansion: How (and How Many) States Have Taken Action to Increase School Health Access and Funding

October 2023 | Healthy Schools Campaign has identified 25 states that have expanded their school Medicaid program to cover services outside of an IEP/IFSP using the “free care” policy reversal. This brief provides a summary of the actions each state took, along with related state documents and other resources that may be helpful to states working to increase access to and funding for physical, behavioral and mental school-based health services.

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School Medicaid Guidance: What Advocates and State Policymakers Need to Know

October 2023 | This brief answers key questions about the school Medicaid guidance released in 2023 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It highlights what policymakers and advocates need to know — and how to get involved — to ensure states are best positioned to leverage federal opportunities to increase children’s access to the services they need.

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Tapping into Federal COVID-19 Relief Funding
& Medicaid to Support Schools and the
Wellbeing of Students

April 2023 | This handout expands upon and consolidates information from the 2021 resource “RESTART & RECOVERY: Leveraging Federal COVID Relief Funding & Medicaid to Support Student & Staff Wellbeing & Connection.” It includes guidance about how states can utilize federal relief funding to expand school Medicaid to support student mental health, along with recommendations for coordination across agencies.

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A Guide to Expanding Medicaid-Funded School Health Services

March 2022 | This Guide provides background on school-based Medicaid and outlines various opportunities to advance state policy changes required to access additional federal funds. It is designed to support everyone working to expand access to school health services, including school districts, state education and Medicaid agencies, school health providers, public health professionals and advocates. All of these stakeholders share a common goal: improve student health and educational outcomes.

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Guidance on Using COVID Relief Funding to Support School Health

August 2021 | Developed by AASA, FutureEd, Healthy Schools Campaign and Kaiser Permanente, this guidance offers concrete steps school districts can take to make data-informed decisions about investing COVID-relief funding. Learn how funds to support school health can be used for capacity building and infrastructure, and also to access additional funding streams, such as Medicaid, to ensure the efforts initiated with federal funds are sustained.

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Providing Health Services During School Closures

March 2021 | This report examines the challenges schools have encountered while providing physical, behavioral and mental health services during the Covid-19 pandemic. It considers the impact of state and federal policies, including how state Medicaid programs are responding to ensure reimbursement and funding, and documents emerging best practices and guidance, especially around telemedicine and parental consent.

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Expansion of School-Based Health Services in California: An Opportunity for More Trauma-Informed Care for Children

September 2020 | The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has approved California’s Medicaid state plan amendment, allowing school districts to access more federal funding for school-based health services. This report describes using this opportunity to increase access to services that help students heal from trauma — including the trauma caused by exposure to domestic violence and pervasive bias, and crises such as COVID-19.

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Healthy Students, Promising Futures Learning Collaborative

The Healthy Students, Promising Futures (HSPF) Learning Collaborative, led by HSC, brings together state teams committed to increasing access to school health services billed to Medicaid. HSPF offers numerous resources and hosts an active webinar series (archive available) featuring Medicaid policy experts, state government officials and school district leaders.

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Schools Are Key to Improving Children’s Health: How Illinois Can Leverage Medicaid Funds to Expand School Health Services

January 2021 | This brief addresses the steps Illinois must take to amend its state Medicaid plan and increase access to school health services. It includes school provider staffing and student health metrics and lessons learned from other states.

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Schools Are Key to Improving Children’s Health

January 2020 | Key opportunities exist for education, healthcare and public health sectors to improve both health and education outcomes by focusing on school-based health services. This national policy brief addresses the opportunities to expand on health services delivered within a school by school nurses and other district-employed providers.

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