Posted: Mar 4, 2013 9:18 PM
Updated: Mar 4, 2013 9:24 PM
RICHMOND (AP) - An eastern Kentucky school district is trying to find a partner to help it save the school nurse program.
Media reported that the move came last week after the Madison County Health Department said it would end the public-health nursing services in May. It has provided nurses for district schools for more than two decades.
"I am delivering this news with great sadness," said Nancy Crewe, public health director. "This is not a decision we've made lightly. Our school health program is of the highest quality and has served as a model for other programs statewide."
The health department said in a statement that it was losing too much money in providing the service. It estimated the program had incurred $830,000 in losses since 2010 despite efforts to limit spending including a staff reduction. In addition, the department will lose $300,000 by the end of the current school year due to reductions in Medicaid reimbursements.
School district spokeswoman Erin Stewart said administrators are now seeking another partner in an effort to save the program.
She said the district has two goals: offering comparable health services and retaining as many of the current staff as possible so that students won't notice a change in services.
"The district is hopeful that this transition will not affect quality in any way as we begin school next fall," said Superintendent Tommy Floyd. "We are hopeful that many of the faces our students see in the nurses' offices across the district will be the same faces next school year."
Crewe said it isn't clear how many layoffs are coming.
"We chose to make this announcement early so that staff can have time to explore and apply for other opportunities," said Crewe. "Some staff may choose to apply for internal positions at MCHD, while others may find employment with the Madison County School District."
The school-based health clinics, offered since 1991, offered services including physicals, sick visits and immunizations.
"We have long valued Madison County Schools as a willing partner in this program," Crewe said. "They have in no way cut the funding they have always committed to the school nurse program. In fact, the district is working diligently, as it has been over the last two years, to find ways to continue to provide health services for students."
Information from: Richmond Register, http://www.richmondregister.com
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)