Children’s Health Insurance Could Help School Nursing Shortage
The Ventura County Health Care Initiative Steering Committee is considering options to provide health care to all children in the county, the Ventura County Star reports. According to Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Charles Weis, such programs could reduce the number of health issues that school nurses have to treat. The county is facing a school nurse shortage "[a]s the result of inadequate funding," Weis said.
The first option being considered by the committee would provide low-cost health insurance for low-income families, similar to the state-funded Healthy Families Program. The county also is considering a pilot program, called Care for Kids, that allows parents to receive health care services at county medical clinics.
Some nurses in the county oversee the health of at least 6,000 students. Smaller school districts do not have on-site nurses but instead contract with nurses who occasionally visit schools.
Weis said nurses sometimes are students' primary source of medical care, especially in low-income areas. School nurses also monitor chronic diseases, such as asthma and diabetes, which are growing problems among children (Hernandez, Ventura County Star, 3/26).