Health Connect in Our Schools (HCiOS) 305 995-7338
In September of 2005, The Children’s Trust’s Board of Directors was presented with a plan for a children’s health initiative called Health Connect. This initiative is a comprehensive program aimed at improving child and adolescent health in Miami-Dade County. Health Connect has four components including (1) Health Connect in Our Schools (HCiOS), (2) Connectors, (3) Early Childhood Connect, and (4) a Health Promotion/Social Marketing Campaign.
The first component, HCiOS, was developed to address the health needs of school-age children by enhancing and improving the current fragmented and inconsistent health programs in Miami-Dade Public Schools (M-DCPS). Within five years, The Children’s Trust and the collaborating partners seeks to have a health team in Miami-Dade County that is providing health care and behavioral health services, connecting students to primary health care providers, and managing health prevention and health promotion activities for each of its 335 (PK-12) public schools.
The goal of HCiOS is to increase the community’s efforts to improve health outcomes for children through health education, health promotion, and accessible health care. A comprehensive school health program will benefit various aspects of the community, including local businesses, families, and public health care entities. HCiOS has the potential to make Florida a national leader among state’s in the implementation of an innovative approach to community health that benefits all children.
HCiOS was developed to address numerous challenges related to improving child health outcomes in Miami-Dade County, including:
Lack of school nurses and clinics in nearly 90% of Miami-Dade’s 335 schools
Limited system of care and coordination across schools
Inadequate follow-up for mandated health and development screenings conducted in schools due to the limited number of health support technicians
Lack of a standard set of outcomes or data to monitor services delivered and child health outcomes
Low enrollment of Miami-Dade children in health insurance plans or health coverage programs
Limited number of children having a medical home
Lack of preventative health services leading to higher health care costs and inappropriate use of emergency rooms; and
Poor health status and lack of care leading to higher absenteeism rates and poor educational performance.
The Children’s Trust has strategically partnered with the Miami-Dade County Health Department (MDCHD) and Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) to create HCiOS. During the 18 month transition period (January 2006 – June 2007), The Children’s Trust will expend approximately $16 million on HCiOS. M-DCHD has committed approximately $3 million to School Health Connect, which is equivalent to the amount of funding received from the Florida legislature to fund the School Health Services Program. M-DCPS has also committed its existing school health resources in the amount of $6.7 million annually to HCiOS as well as additional in-kind contributions.
Key to the model's success has been establishing collaborative relationships with community health providers. These agencies, once funded via The Children's Trust, became vested in HCiOS and the schools they serve.
The total amount allocated to HCiOS during the initial implementation phase will allow the program to cover approximately 30% (100 out of 335) of the public (PK-12) schools.
HCiOS will provide school children with access to quality health care services including a medical home and behavioral health services through a health team in every school. The services will focus on improving student health, health education, school environment and lead to school success. The vision includes establishing and maintaining a standard for school health services for physical and mental health in all schools.
General Health/Primary Care: HCiOS health services will reduce or eliminate barriers to care, connect eligible students with health insurance and a medical home, and provide care for students who are not eligible for other services.
Behavioral Health: The goal of HCiOS is for students to receive coordinated social work services and linkages to mental/behavioral health interventions in a timely manner.
Health Education: The goal of HCiOS is to enhance the health education activities provided by the schools and by the health department. Through coordination and collaboration, HCiOS will assure all students receive health education.
Staffing Standards: HCiOS seeks for each school to have a trained health team that is qualified to perform the assigned duties related to a quality school health care program.
The HCiOS model is based on the placement of health teams in each of the PK-12 schools in Miami-Dade County. Each health team will serve two schools. Each HCiOS health team will consist of a minimum staffing pattern that includes: a school nurse, a school social worker, and two (2) school health aides (one health aide is assigned at each school).
The initial implementation phase of HCiOS will provide complete health services to 100 select M-DCPS schools by the end of the 2006-2007 academic year. It is anticipated that by the 2007-2008 academic year the model will be in 50% of M-DCPS schools and in all schools by 2011.
The M-DCPS Division of Student Services, Comprehensive Health Services office is responsible for the overall implementation and monitoring of HCiOS as it relates to M-DCPS. The Division of Student services will provide joint programmatic and clinical supervision for HCiOS in conjunction with administration from The Children’s Trust, Miami-Dade County Health Department as well as with administration from participating mental and medical health providers aligned with the model.
For additional information regarding HCiOS, please contact the following:
Office of Professional Development and Educational Services
Division of Student Services