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Missouri Bill Would Create State Incentives for School-Based Clinics

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A bill filed by a Missouri legislator would require that state's department of social services to create incentives to encourage health clinics to locate in high-poverty schools.

The bill, filed by Rep. Jay Barnes, a Republican, would also provide assistance to create telehealth sites in schools where at least 50 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. Telehealth and telemedicine programs allow doctors and other clinicians to provide some health-care services, screenings, and consultations remotely with the aid of high-speed internet connections that allow for teleconferencing and viewing of diagnostic images.

There's been a growing push for school-based health care from several sectors. Advocates for low-income students argue that providing screenings and treatment can help eliminate hurdles that often slow or stop them from learning in the classroom. And health-care experts have said that greater cooperation between schools and health-care providers could help create efficiencies, promote better care, and save money.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently removed one barrier to such care by clarifying that schools can bill Medicaid for services they provide to eligible students, even if they provide those services for free to others.

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