Schools have a major influence on the health and well-being of Kentucky children. They play an important role through education and supporting the establishment of lifelong healthy habits. Research has shown that healthy students are better able to learn and have improved academic outcomes.1
In November 2019, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services accepted Kentucky’s Medicaid state plan amendment to expand school-based services. As a result, school districts in Kentucky are now able to offer any physical and behavioral health services covered by Medicaid to students who are enrolled in Medicaid.2
This represents a major change from previous years, and allows Kentucky schools to expand health care services to best support the needs of their students.
The 2019 Kentucky Health Issues Poll asked Kentucky adults whether they believed schools should take a more active role in helping families access health care services. KHIP is sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
KHIP asked, “Do you favor or oppose schools taking a more active role in helping families get health care services for their children?” Eight in 10 Kentucky adults (79%) responded favorably. Support on this issue has been steady since KHIP first asked this question in 2009, with 75% in favor, and again in 2017 with 84% in favor of schools taking a more active role in getting health care services for children.
Support was strong regardless of income. More than 8 in 10 adults with household incomes of 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)3 or less (85%) and nearly 8 in 10 adults in households with incomes greater than 200% FPG (76%) responded favorably.
1. Bradley, B.J., & Greene, A.C. (2013). Do health and education agencies in the United States share responsibility for academic achievement and health? A review of 25 years of evidence about the relationship of adolescents’ academic achievement and health behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(5), 523-532. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2waEzG8
2. Kentucky Youth Advocates. (2019). Free Care: What is it and how will it address student health needs? Retrieved from https://kyyouth.org/freecare-address-student-health-needs/
3. In 2018, 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a family of four was $50,200.
Interact for Health regularly conducts research and collects data in order to monitor and evaluate our region’s health status and to measure public opinions about health policy.
Our Health in Action stories highlight the innovative work our grantees are doing to help reduce tobacco use, address the opioid epidemic and ensure that children can access health care through school-based health centers. We also interview people working on those issues at other organizations across the country to learn what works for them.
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