Pilot program would aim to simplify putting more nurses in schools
Friday, March 31, 2017
Andy Bellando, Silver Falls School District superintendent
Supporters of additional nurses in schools packed a Senate Education Committee hearing Tuesday.
A year-long task force charged with figuring out how to get more nurses in schools led to Senate Bill 111. Given the significant budget situation facing the legislature, the bill was amended to be moved forward as a pilot project, which would limit participation to nine school districts.
The Oregon Department of Education would develop and administer the pilot program. The program’s goal is to demonstrate that, with proper technical assistance for school districts and education service districts, billing Medicaid can support additional nurses in schools.
Some school districts and ESDs already bill Medicaid.
“Our district has built a program that has been successful,” said Silver Falls School District Superintendent Andy Bellando, but “this pursuit required a lot of up-front work, a steep learning curve and a continued commitment by staff members to make it happen.”
The pilot program would report to the Legislature on its results. If successful, the program would help provide direction to ODE and the Legislature for investing in the infrastructure for a statewide program in the next biennium, according to supporters.
School districts that do not bill Medicaid said the system is too complicated, there is not enough personnel to do billing and the risk of errors and penalties is not worth it.
The expectation is the pilot program’s results can be used to build a system that reduces the complexity and personnel needed to bill and, with support from ODE, reduces the risks associated with billing Medicaid.
OSBA supports SB 111 and will monitor the bill’s progress.