Wednesday | March 8, 2017

Today’s children enjoy unprecedented rates of health insurance coverage, thanks to federal efforts such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Still, many educators report that their students need more consistent access to high-quality care.1 Data bears out their observations: 1 in 4 children has not seen a health professional in the last six months2 and 6.7 percent of children receive delayed or no medical care despite need.3

Several healthcare models place schools at the center of care coordination and delivery. Some well-known models rely on strategic partnership: school-based health centers bring clinical support to school sites from local sponsors. As another example, under the community schools approach, a site coordinator identifies nearby providers who can help a school strategically achieve its goals for student wellness. However, these models are at work in less than 5 percent of schools and therefore do not currently reach many students.

A different model leverages school health professionals with federally recognized health credentials; school districts in nearly every state can opt into an elaborate Medicaid system for reimbursing district employees who provide covered health services to eligible students. School-based Medicaid, while perhaps less well known and more bureaucratic, is far more prevalent and offers a widespread existing infrastructure for improving children’s access to care.

With “Healthy Students, Promising Futures,” the Obama administration encouraged states to consider leveraging these and other models because each has the potential to improve children’s health and better address social determinants. As the political landscape shifts under a new administration and the new Every Student Succeeds Act, do some models have more promise than others? This panel will explore and contrast components of each model with attention to their impact, scalability and complementarity.


1American Federation of Teachers (2015). Helping Children Thrive: Child health survey report.
2 Bloom, B, Jones, LI and Freeman, G. (2013, December). Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2012. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital and Health Statistics Series 10(258).
3 National Survey of Children’s Health. NSCH 2011/12. Data query from the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health website.


John Hill, Executive Director, National Alliance for Medicaid in Education

Andrew Masters, M. Ed, Youth Health and Wellness Coordinator, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, Baltimore City Health Department

Olga Acosta Price, Associate Professor, Department of Prevention and Community Health, George Washington University Miliken School of Public Health; Director, Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, GWU

Thomas Stinson, Nurse, Harding High School, St. Paul, Minn; Adjunct Instructor, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Bachelors of Science in Nursing Program

Mary Cathryn Ricker
, Executive Vice President, American Federation of Teachers; Board Member, Albert Shanker Institute.