In cash-strapped Colorado, consensus building for more school-based health care

This is an excerpt from an article in the Colorado Independent.  To access the article in its entirety, click here.

State Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Denver, let the fleeting pleasant experience wash over him: His bill to make school-based health care more accessible, HB 11-1019, passed out of committee on a unanimous vote.

Currently, health clinics located in schools treat uninsured children for free but have to charge insured children the appropriate co-pays. If you thought it was hard to make sure every first-grader had 30 cents in his pocket every morning for breakfast, imagine making sure your kid has $30 in her pocket in case she gets the sniffles.

Kagan said even the insurance companies support his bill, because, he says, they know their overall costs are reduced if kids get preventative treatment when they need it rather than a trip to the emergency room a day later.

Kagan said that in his district the clinics would have stopped treating insured kids in July, but that if the bill passes there will be no disruption in service.

“When kids can’t get the care they need, entire families are disrupted. This bill keeps our most vulnerable children healthy and focused on their education,” said Rep. Kagan. “Insurance and medical providers both agree that preventative care drives insurance costs down system-wide, by keeping kids out of the emergency room and receiving the care they need when they need it.”

Clinics provide a variety of services, including well child exams, immunizations, diagnosis of illness and injury, lab tests, management of chronic issues such as asthma and diabetes, treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues. Some of the clinics even include dental services.  Access to such clinics improves attendance and even reduces drop-out rates as healthy kids are more likely to thrive in school.

To access the rest the full article, click here.

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