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ADA supports school nurses as health care 'navigators'

Washington—The Association will support legislation on Congress' return from summer recess that would enhance the role of school nurses as "navigators" for children to dental and medical care. The ADA will co-sign a letter of support with the National Association of School Nurses.

School nurses help facilitate learning for all students, especially those with asthma, food allergies, obesity, vision and hearing difficulties, dental problems, mental and behavioral problems and those needing prescribed medicine for acute or chronic conditions, says a draft letter for members of Congress on their return from the August recess. For many children, contact with a school nurse offers the only access to a health professional.

The Student to School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act of 2008 would provide grants to eligible states through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC would report to Congress on the effect of student health service grants on educational outcomes.

The ADA recognizes the role of school nurses as health care "navigators" for children and their families to private sector care and advocates for public dental and medical support. The ADA access agenda includes support for several legislative measures pending in Congress.