Citing budget woes, the Madison County Health Department will end school health services in May, but the school district is working on an alternative partnership to care for students.
Since 2010 the health department has lost $830,000 once used for the school health program, according to a news release from the department.
Costs continue to rise as reimbursements for services shrink. For example, the amount the department contributes to the Kentucky Retirement Systems has increased while Medicaid reimbursements have been slashed.
"This is not a decision we've made lightly," said Nancy Crewe, public health director.
School-based public health clinics are a local option service that health departments may choose to provide. In Madison County, 12 health department employees serve 10,000 students at 17 schools. Madison Central and Madison Southern high schools each have full-time nurses. Nurses rotate among elementary and middle schools.
Superintendent Tommy Floyd said the health department and district have worked together for 20 years, and the school health program was "vital." The district is seeking a new partner to continue the program.
Erin Stewart, the district's community education director, said the district hoped to retain as many of the current school health employees as possible under the new partnership, which should be finalized within two months.