Education

Fayette school board approves $1.4 million contract with health department for nurses

In this May 2012 file photo, Lansdowne Elementary School nurse Michelle Marra worked with a student.
In this May 2012 file photo, Lansdowne Elementary School nurse Michelle Marra worked with a student.

The Fayette County School Board on Monday approved a $1.4 million contract with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department for school nurses in 2014-15.

The contract represents an increase of about $200,000 from this year's contract, said district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall.

"We expect this will result in improved health services for our students," she said.

For more than 30 years, school health services have been handled by the health department, which places nurses in schools on a part-time basis. But budget cuts and Medicaid reimbursements at the state level required the health department to pass along more costs to the district.

Before this school year, registered nurses were used exclusively. As of July 1, a combination of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses have been used, and some services were reduced or eliminated.

A committee reviewing the proposals from several providers voted to approve the health department contract because it restored previously reduced or eliminated services, and because of the department's familiarity with the district and expertise in school health.

Kevin Hall, spokesman for the health department, said the nurses who worked in the schools devised the plan based on students' needs.

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