WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (5/22/13) - The future of the nursing program was once again a hot button topic at Monday night’s school board meeting, but the future of the nursing program continues to hang in limbo as board members struggle to find an acceptable solution.
“We’ve tried taking a look at what we face with the school health program,” said Superintendant Dr. James Kemp. “All of the school districts have withdrawn from the offer from Green River Health District. After we voted to do the same, we decided to look at what it would cost for us to maintain the same level of health care in our school.”
The offer the board received from Green River was $105,000, a $45,000 increase from the current charges. This follows a $20,000 increase a year ago.
Dr. Kemp made the proposal to the board on Monday night that instead of hiring three registered nurses (RNs), they higher one RN that would work out of the Dixon Campus, and then hire two certified nurses' aides (CNAs) who would work out of the Sebree and Clay schools. The CNAs would most likely work under the RN in this scenario, although the terms of service have yet to be worked out.
The cost of this proposal would be approximately $31,692 for the RN and $13,998 for the CNAs for a total of $78,689.
“I like the creativity of this plan,” said board member David Higgins, who knows a little about the medical field. He is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor at Healthfirst CHC in Providence. “My only concern is the CNA part of it. Will a CNA be able to do what we need them to do?”
“In talking with the nurses from the health department, it would appear that we would have more flexibility with the CNAs,” Dr. Kemp said.
Dr. Kemp said that he had already discussed liability insurance with the districts insurance provider, and any nurses employed by the board would be covered.
“Biggest problem I am having to overcome is that when I was in school I don’t remember having a nurse,” said chairman Jeff Pettit. “When did the schools assume the liability of providing health care?”
“The kids growing up today have more needs than ever before,” Higgins said. “There is more obesity and insulin needs. And I would feel horrible if something were to happen at one of our schools because a budget cut kept someone from being there who might have seen the signs.”
“Part of the responsibility of the school is to also look at the safety of the kids while they’re in our care,” Dr. Kemp added.
Board member Leland Steeley pointed out that there was no mandate that the school had to employ nurses at all. The only rule is that the school must provide health care services, which could possibly be a faculty member trained in first aid.
“I would like to see, in writing, exactly what the state requires us to do,” Steeley said.
Dr. Kemp will report back to the board on Monday June 3, 2013 with a list of KDE requirements.
J-E News Editor
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