• School Health Services Give Children a Bright Future

    Shared with permission from the Healthy Schools Campaign.

    Mary Ellen Barkman, the Medicaid Coordinator for Pinellas County Schools, the eighth largest school district in Florida, is passionate about their vision screening program. “We’re saving children’s lives,” she says.

    Spot Vision ScreenerFor instance, last year, there was a new student in the district, a recent immigrant from Egypt who spoke only Arabic. Her teacher struggled to reach her and felt that beyond the language issue, the girl must have some cognitive problems. As part of her special education evaluation, she was tested with one of the district’s new Spot Vision Screeners. This quick screen showed that she had a serious muscle problem that caused triple vision. After she received the specialized prism glasses she needed and hearing aids for her hearing loss, she was at grade level within a year. “Without those screenings she may not have been able to reach her fullest potential,” Barkman says. “With help, children can have such a bright future.”

    The district’s investment in spot screeners is the result of careful analysis of the district’s needs. Several years ago, school health services managers reported to Barkman that there was an issue with the district’s protocol for vision screenings. They were inefficient and time consuming, and they simply didn’t work for students who couldn’t talk or who had trouble sitting still or following instructions—often the very students who needed accurate screenings the most. The district researched many options and settled on Spot Vision Screeners, which work by taking a picture of the child’s eye and using it to screen for visual acuity, muscle imbalance and tumors. In fact, in the first year of using the screeners, the district identified a serious tumor in a student that had been missed by his primary care doctor. The machine creates a printout for parents that explains any follow-up services their child needs, and the district has formed partnerships with a vision van, local optometrists and the Lion’s Club to provide services for children who need follow-up services after screenings. And because the screeners are so easy to use, the district’s vision teams can make much more efficient use of their nurses to follow up with students who fail the screenings, rather than having to do the screenings themselves.

    Barkman and the Pinellas County Schools team have woven together many different funding streams to build this unique program including Medicaid funding for the actual Spot Vision Screeners. Most of the funding comes from effective maximization of Medicaid billable services, such as Physical and Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Nursing, Social Work, Psychology and Transportation and Administrative Claiming. Half of the reimbursement dollars are given to her program to spend on priorities they identify. The other half goes to operating to offset salary costs of billing providers. Because of this, Barkman works hard with her practitioners to make sure they are billing for all eligible services and maximizing Administrative Claiming reimbursement. They even developed their own electronic documentation system to make this easier. Over five years, the district has increased Medicaid revenue by $1.7 million to increase resources for students.

    What’s next for Pinellas County? One priority is developing a micro-credentialing system for the one-on-one assistants who work with children with multiple challenges, to give them skills for physically transferring the children, feeding, seizure monitoring, CPR and social supports. Medicaid will support an increase in their salary after achieving the credential, which will allow them to be Medicaid-claimable health assistants. This invests Medicaid dollars directly into something that meets the needs of some of the district’s most vulnerable students.

    “The key is out of the box thinking,” Barkman says, “and the box has gotten smaller.” She continues to look for ways to leverage whatever funding is available. “It’s such a blessing to be able to help a child reach their fullest potential. It’s important that people understand how important the Medicaid dollars are to that,” Barkman says.

  • Rochester News Station Interviews Gates Chili CSD & Mobilize Rescue Systems about Life-Saving Technology

    Fox Rochester's Ashley Doerzbacher interviewed Superintendent Kim Ward and the Mobilize Rescue team about the #Mobilize1Million campaign and the use of the Mobilize Rescue System at the Gates Chili Central School District.

    You can watch the interviews here (Be sure to scroll down to watch all five segments.)

    Mob1mil_2Mobilize Rescue Systems offer the only interactive trauma and first aid system capable of helping untrained bystanders assess, manage, and monitor a spectrum of medical emergencies.

    Each Mobilize product includes access to the Mobilize Rescue app, which provides users with just-in-time instructions to assess and manage life-threatening emergencies. Bystanders can follow simple steps in the Mobilize Rescue app, and have the knowledge and ability to provide care anywhere they go.

    The interactive app is designed by experienced medical providers to place the highest accepted standards of emergency medical care in the hands of the everyday person. The app takes the guess work out of providing care - the untrained rescuer can determine the problem, locate the proper equipment and be taught to use it properly with interactive, just-in-time training.

    Here are some notable quotes from the interview. These quotes highlight the benefits provided by Mobilize Rescue Systems during an emergency situation.

    "I just feel like we're more equipped to handle any situation. It's a different world out there, and we need to be prepared. It's not something we like to think about, we hope we never have to use it, but helping our staff, even students, anyone who walks in the building knows what (the Mobilize Rescue Systems) are, knows where they're found next to our AEDs. They at least know they are equipped to respond and help save lives. We talk about innocent bystanders, these units allow you to be active in trying to save lives, in trying to stabilize victims until the emergency staff can arrive." - Superintendent Kim Ward, Gates Chili Central School District

    "The technology for first aid has just changed so dramatically, with AEDs and everything else, and (the Mobilize Rescue System) is an addition to that." - Doug Emblidge, FOX Rochester

    "It's so hard to predict how you will react in times of crisis, or during an emergency. That's why this is so important." - Jennifer Johnson, FOX Rochester

    "It's also good to know, when we send our kids off to school, you trust that they're in good hands and you feel a little bit more confident that they've got (the Mobilize Rescue) technology there." - Alexis Arnold, FOX Rochester

    "Safety comes first... I think it's important for people to feel a comfort, and to have hope that they can help until emergency responders can arrive on the scene." - Superintendent Kim Ward, Gates Chili Central School District

    Learn more about the #Mobilize1Million campaign, and how you can sponsor and empower your school, workplace, community, or family to save lives.

  • Sharing Our Story: Grandpa Good’s Notes on Starting School Health…

    Sharing Our Story Carleton Good

    by Susan Rogers

    Since we are asking you to share your story for how or why you got into school nursing we thought we would share ours. Luckily my grandfather put it on paper and we’d like to share his story with you. Especially since we are celebrating 60 years.

    In order for parts of this story to make sense you will need a little background. The real beginning of our story goes back to the Good-Lite Company. My grandfather was Carleton Good and his father was Dr. Robert Good (founder of the Good-Lite Company). As an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon and an ophthalmologist, Dr. Good had one of the best practices on the west side of Chicago.

    While working for his father, my grandfather had the vision to start a medical supply company focused on selling to schools. Here are some highlights from his memoir…

    “During the depression, yes I was making the Good-Lite headlights in the basement on Thatcher Avenue. V. Mueller of the American Hospital Supply had an exclusive. They used to order 24 lights at a time. When we made the Good-Lite eye chart, they were not interested in selling charts, so I cancelled the exclusive and opened up sales to all surgical dealers. I called on dealers and went to the surgical supply dealerships.

    I moved out of my basement in River Forest and moved into a four-car garage in Oak Park, in a residential area. After several years, I was forced to leave and rented one-half of a 25-foot store, in Forest Park on Madison Street, for $100 a month.

    My father lost a fortune in real estate. He purchased second mortgages on over 45 buildings, which he let go. I salvaged about five houses where I refinanced and offered fifty cents on the dollar for the first mortgages. I was getting about $35.00 a month rental. carleton_letter3

    In the early 40s, I was selling real estate for F.C. Pilgrim and Company. Mr. Pilgrim was never happy about me working two jobs, his office and Good-Lite. He said I should work selling real estate for Marquardt Reality. He knew I was working two jobs. My Good-Lite was across the street from his real estate office. I am now selling real estate on 100 percent commission.

    In the meantime, Good-Lite was doing better so I hired, part time, Bill Smith, a Maywood fireman, to help in the back room. The eye charts, however, were not selling. So, I told Bill one day, put on your best clothes and try to sell those charts to schools. They were not approved by the National Society for Prevention of Blindness. Bill took off in his old battered and rusty Ford station wagon and sold all the North Shore suburbs. When the nurses saw his old battered car, they felt sorry for him, and he said to them that he needed a sale. Later, nurses wanted scales, band-aids, etc. and this is where it all started. We put out a small catalog and started School Health Supply.”

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