All in the name of balanced budgets: http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/125610818.html
Aurora Health Care is withdrawing school nurses and nurse practitioners from 10 Milwaukee public schools this coming fall, the Journal Sentinel learned Thursday.
Aurora's pullback is on top of a loss of state funding for nurses, which forced the School Board last month to dip into the superintendent's contingency fund to restore 15 of 22 nursing positions that were to be cut.
MPS will be stretched to provide nurses for all schools this fall, but an MPS nursing supervisor said Thursday that she expects schools with 250 or more students will have at least some daily nursing coverage.
"Aurora Health Care reviews its array of services on an ongoing basis to better align services with patient needs and best practices," Aurora spokesman Mike Brophy said in a statement Thursday, when asked about the cuts.
Brophy said Aurora decided not to renew contracts for school-based health services at 10 MPS schools after investing in the program for more than a decade. Aurora's services have come at no cost to MPS.
"Looking forward, Aurora will support a full-time registered nurse at one school in Lindsay Heights, where we sponsor a number of related initiatives," Brophy said.
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and other community health organizations are negotiating nursing coverage they will provide to MPS this coming year and are considering increasing their commitment.
"We're working with MPS to determine which schools we will have a presence in," said Bridget Clementi, director of community health for Children's. "We're committed to having a presence in MPS schools with our nurses."
Cutbacks on school nurses aren't unique to MPS - other districts have eliminated nurses to save money - but MPS contends with high rates of asthma and diabetes among its largely low-income student population. Those students generally have less access to health care than their peers in wealthier communities.
Clementi said Children's has been working to identify priority neighborhoods and align resources with schools. Children's currently provides nurses to about eight schools, according to MPS.
One possible scenario is that Children's may increase its commitment from part-time nurses to full-time nurses, said Ann Riojas, a nursing supervisor for MPS.
Froedtert Hospital funds one nurse for the Westside Academy's two buildings, Riojas said.
The Medical College of Wisconsin staffs a school-based clinic with a nurse practitioner and a medical assistant at the former Custer High School, which now houses two schools: Barack Obama Elementary and the School of Career and Technical Education.
A true school-based clinic is staffed with a nurse practitioner who can write prescriptions, order urine and blood tests, and perform physicals, Riojas said.
MPS will be funding 63 registered nurses and 33 licensed practical nurses in the fall, Riojas said.
"We're doing our absolute best, trying to give almost every school some nursing," she said. "Some may only get half a day."
Coverage will be determined by enrollment, the number of students with diabetes, asthma, feeding tubes or catheters, and poverty level, she said.
During the school year that ended last month, school nurses received 164,000 visits from students who either needed first aid or experienced sudden illness, Riojas said.
"We also gave an enormous number of children an enormous amount of medication," she said: 94,585 doses to 786 kids.
Add to that 13,467 doses of insulin, 20,000 blood sugar tests, 13,218 feedings, and nearly 11,000 metered inhaler doses for asthma, all either administered or supervised.