Newsletter

July 2020

SUMMER 2020 UPDATES

Happy summer! We hope that everyone is taking some time to unwind and recharge before we begin another school year, especially one with many uncertainties. 

LASBHA has been working hard to continue our Advocacy efforts during both legislative sessions. We are happy report that there were no cuts to funding for SBHCs despite an uncertain economic climate. We would like to take this time to thank Cindy Bishop for her tireless efforts on the behalf of Louisiana's children. 

LASBHA has also been working on gathering resources for you to advocate for your programs when school resumes. Below is a list of talking points that can be used to promote your services to your schools as they develop their reopening plans. We hope that this is beneficial to you. 

Other resources regarding Medicaid and Telehealth can be found on the LASBHA website. The National SBHA also has many learning opportunities that can be found here:

        https://www.weitzmanlearning.org/coronavirus/

        https://www.sbh4all.org/training/webinars/webinar-archive/

 

Talking Points for Directors to use with School Districts

Due to COVID-19, Louisiana children and adolescents will have missed over two months of school and won't return until the 2020/2021 school year, probably in an altered fashion. For many who rely on school-based health center (SBHC) programs, this will lead to months of untreated chronic illness, missed preventative care visits and required vaccinations, and compounded unmet mental health needs as access to these programs has been limited. Many students and staff will also return to school with the added trauma of having lost loved ones and the stress of economic instability within their families.We also know that COVID-19 will continue to be a threat in many communities when school returns, and SBHC programs will have a critical role to play as front line responders in schools to control further spread. 

  • SBHCs can also provide preventative and routine healthcare related to COVID-19, as well as other key physical, oral, and mental healthcare services for LA’s most vulnerable youth.

  • Healthcare programs and schools/districts must develop and maintain a collaborative effort—now more than ever—to address student and school community needs.

  • SBHCs can also prioritize the social/emotional well-being of students through program efforts as well as the support you provide to school district partners. 

  • A heightened awareness of and attention to trauma and mental health will be critical as well as diligence to measures to prevent discrimination and stigmatization surrounding COVID-19.

  • Additional focus should be given to crisis response and maintaining fair discipline practices as students will return to school after several months of disruption in their daily routines.

  • Consider implementing telemedicine to provide Primary Care & Behavioral Health services to your patients.  Platforms such as DoxyMe also offer “group” therapy features so behavioral health providers can see multiple patients for group sessions at the same time. Not all parents & guardians are technologically savvy.  It may be a good idea to record a “how to” video on using your telemedicine services and asking your School Superintendent for permission to post it to the district’s website or share on social media.  

  • Utilizing electronic documents with e-signature capabilities will also help you get parents to sign consent & enrollment forms or other patient documents.  An easy to use and budget-friendly service is HelloSign.  It’s HIPAA compliant and legally binding.  You can embed template links to your health center webpage so that parents can easily access, e-sign the document and it’s automatically sent back to your health center inbox.  

  • To help “market” your school based services to your students, ask school districts to create a link on their student’s Chromebooks that allows them to click directly to the health center’s page and contact information if they need healthcare or therapy while at home (or in virtual school).  

  • For schools utilizing a “hybrid” model for returning to school in person, make sure your clinic is properly stocked with PPE (gowns, face shields, gloves, infrared thermometers, etc.).  It’s best to order extra in case supplies get low during a COVID second wave.  

  • Train staff to properly dawn & doff PPE, as well as proper cleaning/sanitizing methods relating to COVID.  

  • The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has allocated funding to all LEAs for additional behavioral health support.  The funding is only allocated for one year.  Districts will need additional behavioral health support to service every student in its schools.  Schedule meetings with District Support Services staff to see how you can work together to help them fulfill their funding obligation while helping more children.

  • Many districts are also working on assessments for every child to take upon returning to school.  These cover questions surrounding:  depression, anxiety, grief/loss, food insecurities, etc.  The results of these assessments will help your staff pull students for services within your SBHC.  

  • It’s normal for health center staff to feel the pressure of a potential second wave of COVID.  It’s also going to be difficult to decipher between children with flu and those with COVID.  Contact an infectious disease physician to help everyone feel comfortable about properly diagnosing patients.  

  • Know that as COVID cases increase potentially among school populations, it’s okay to feel stressed and scared.  Offer support to staff or consider using the myStrength evidence-based behavioral health tool.  It offers coping strategies and daily guidance on topics such as:  chronic illnesses, suicide, COVID, stress and more.  

  • Contact is key to keeping SBHCs running.  Keep in touch with your Superintendent and School Board members over the summer.  Reassure principals that you are here to help them brainstorm on reopening plans.  Offer sound advice and support always focusing on what’s best for our children.


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Louisiana School-Based Health Alliance  I  PO Box 64749  I  Baton Rouge, LA 70896  I  info@lasbha.org

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