Cross posted from: Georgetown University Health Policy Institute
Recognizing that a healthy student is a better student, education and health officials have begun working closely in the past few years to integrate their efforts. Recent changes to federal education law, new grant programs and revised Medicaid rules have opened the door for further collaboration and better results for students. This work has become increasingly important amid a growing awareness of the role illness plays in school absenteeism and the urgent need for mental health services. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) play a key role in such partnerships, since these programs provide health coverage for 37 percent of school-age children and pay for many of the health services delivered to eligible children at school.
This paper examines how Medicaid can help schools better serve children and families and how schools can help students get the health care they need. It offers four recommendations to state and school district officials seeking closer linkages between health and education:
- Ensure every eligible student has health coverage.
- Help schools support and prioritize the comprehensive health needs of students as a pivotal factor in their ability to learn.
- Increase access to school-based or school-linked preventive health care.
- Help schools serve as resource “hubs” for families and caregivers especially in under-served or remote areas.