LOS ANGELES: School District Develops ‘Wish List’ For Proposed Health Services Expansion
Los Angeles Unified School District officials are drafting their "wish lists" for $50 million in federal funding they may receive if Los Angeles County this week approves a proposal to expand the county's health network to include school-based clinics. If the county Board of Supervisors ratifies the proposal, it could secure up to $50 million in matching funds from the federal Health Care Financing Administration. The "unusual" proposal that would forge a partnership between the county, the district schools and the federal government has received "tentative approval" from HCFA ( see CHL 10/16). The Los Angeles Times reports that school clinics have welcomed the opportunity to improve students' health, and therefore learning capabilities. "The more you work on the health of a child, the better his learning achievements," said George Bartleson, assistant principal of Columbus Middle School in Canoga Park, who hailed the proposed program as "a very positive thing."
In The Nick Of Time
The proposal has spurred plans to establish school-based clinics at several sites, including Kennedy High School in Granada Hills and at Maclay Middle School in Pacoima. Assistant Superintendent Sally Coughlin, who is in charge of student health and human services for the district, said, "There are a lot of potentials. The need is definitely there." She said school officials would determine "where the most needy kids are" and would propose expanding health services in those areas. For example, Coughlin said the San Fernando High clinic remains "maxed out," as its clinic logged 10,000 patient visits last year. According to Janis Lake, coordinator for the Canoga Park clinic, school clinics are an appropriate location to provide health services to the community. "Children and their parents feel comfortable coming to a clinic at the school. The kids aren't afraid, and the school is the hub of the community. Many parents don't have transportation to get to other clinics," she said (Willman, 10/20).