MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (AP) — A petition is circulating in eastern Kentucky to save health clinics in the school system.
The Middlesboro Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/UATTxc) that nearly 2,000 people in Bell County had signed the petition asked elected leaders for help.
The Bell County Health Department says it wants the department to be removed from Medicaid billing as a managed care organization, which has resulted in billing issues and lost funding.
Officials say without changes, school health clinics could limit services or close.
"We provide a mini-health department in each school site as kids have access to registered dietitians, environmentalists, epidemiologists, health educators and a wide variety of health care specialists," said Judy LeFevers, the interim public health director. "A school nurse is the only access to any health care for some school children."
LeFevers said that all students in Bell County receive services through the health clinics whether they have Medicaid coverage or not. She said services include immunizations, dental treatments and dispensing medicines.
She said if the health department has to close the clinics due to funding issues, school districts would have to decide whether they had enough funding to provide the service.
The newspaper reports Bell County has had a school clinic since 1992, when the state launched a pilot program for them.
She said nurses who participate in the program are specially trained for it.
Information from: The Daily News, http://www.middlesborodailynews.com