2007 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Representative Holland (By Request)
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR A SCHOOL NURSE PROGRAM TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION THROUGH THE OFFICE OF HEALTHY SCHOOLS; TO SPECIFY THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE NURSES IN THE PROGRAM; TO PRESCRIBE THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE OF HEALTHY SCHOOLS IN ADMINISTERING THE PROGRAM; TO ESTABLISH IN THE STATE TREASURY A SPECIAL FUND TO BE KNOWN AS THE SCHOOL NURSE PROGRAM FUND; TO PROVIDE THAT A CERTAIN AMOUNT FROM THE TOBACCO SETTLEMENT INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS RECEIVED BY THE STATE EACH YEAR SHALL BE DEPOSITED INTO THE SPECIAL FUND; TO PROVIDE THAT THE LEGISLATURE SHALL ANNUALLY APPROPRIATE THE FUNDS IN THE SPECIAL FUND TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, WHICH SHALL EXPEND THE FUNDS SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSES SPECIFIED IN THIS ACT; TO AMEND SECTION 43-13-405, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE PRECEDING PROVISION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known as the Mary Sprayberry School Nurse Reorganization Act of 2007.
SECTION 2. The Mississippi Legislature makes the following findings:
(a) School nurses play a vital role in improving the health and well-being of our children and make a health difference in every child's future. Nurses have been a part of the school setting since the late 1800s when they provided student inspections to identify those with communicable diseases who needed treatment. While the students of today have very different health needs than those in earlier days, school nurses are still critically important to ensure that the health needs of each child are met. Today, school nursing is recognized as a specialized practice that advances the well-being, academic success and lifelong achievement of students. To this end, school nurses are a very critical component for the implementation of a coordinated approach to school health.
(b) The State Department of Education is a leader in the healthy school environment initiative for the state and this act represents a logical approach to expanding the department's commitment to school health. Recognizing coordinated school health programs as a powerful tool for improving student health and academic achievement, the State Board of Education approved the reorganization of the State Department of Education to bring the school health-related resources under one (1) office by establishing the Office of Healthy Schools in January 2004.
(c) The Office of Healthy Schools, which is funded by The Bower Foundation, has launched the "Health is Academic" Initiative to promote health and wellness in Mississippi's public schools. School nurses play a pivotal role in the following components of this initiative: Start-Up Grant; John D. Bower, MD School Health Network Grant; EPSDT School Nurses; Medicaid School-Based Administrative Claiming; and Local School Wellness Policy.
(d) Currently, there are over three hundred sixty (360) school nurses serving approximately four hundred ninety-four thousand thirty-eight (494,038) students in Mississippi schools. With one (1) school nurse for every one thousand three hundred seventy-two (1,372) children, our schools fall short of the federally recommended nurse student ratio of one (1) nurse for every seven hundred fifty (750) students. The existing three hundred sixty (360) school nurses are funded by the Mississippi Legislature, local school districts, local hospitals, federal government, The Bower Foundation and The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. The nurses provide services to increasingly large numbers of students, often at more than one (1) school building.
SECTION 3. (1) The State Department of Education is designated as the state agency responsible for the administration and supervision of the school nurse program as an education and wellness curriculum in the schools of the State of Mississippi. It is the intent of the Legislature that all funds made available to the State Department of Education for the purpose of employing school nurses shall be administered by the State Department of Education.
(2) The State Department of Education, through the Office of Healthy Schools, shall develop standards, procedures and criteria for the school nurse programs in kindergarten through Grade 12. The Office of Healthy Schools of the State Department of Education shall assume the responsibility for promoting a statewide school nurse program designed to prepare local school districts to incorporate the school program into their local educational programs.
(3) From and after July 1, 2007, the School Nurse Intervention Program administered and funded by the State Department of Health shall be transferred to the Office of Healthy Schools of the State Department of Education. Any administrative personnel employed by the State Department of Health for the administration of school nurses under the School Nurse Intervention Program may be considered for employment by the Office of Healthy Schools of the State Department of Education for the purpose of coordinating the employment of school nurses in the school districts. Any administrative personnel formerly employed by the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, Inc., for the administration of school nurses in the public schools may be considered for employment by the Office of Healthy Schools of the State Department of Education for the purpose of coordinating the employment of school nurses in the school districts. All records and unexpended balances of accounts in the School Nurse Intervention Program relating to the employment of school nurses shall be transferred to the Office of Healthy Schools in the State Department of Education in accordance with the transfer of responsibility under this act.
(4) The nurses in the school nurse program shall have the following specific responsibilities:
(a) Serve as the coordinator of the health services program and provide nursing care;
(b) Provide health education to students;
(c) Implement activities to promote health and prevent tobacco, alcohol and substance use and abuse;
(d) Identify health and safety concerns in the school environment and promote a nurturing social environment;
(e) Administer medications and help students manage their health problems;
(f) Support healthy food services programs;
(g) Promote healthy physical education, sports policies and practices;
(h) Promote dropout prevention programs; and
(i) Participate in allied health programs to introduce students to health careers.
(5) The Office of Healthy Schools of the State Department of Education shall provide resources to all school nurses so that those schools with school nurses will be prepared to provide health education in Mississippi schools and support the Mississippi Comprehensive Health Framework, Mississippi Physical Education Framework, Wellness Policy, coordinated approach to school health, and other resources required by the State Board of Education.
(6) In administering the school nurse program, the Office of Healthy Schools and the State Department of Education shall perform the following duties:
(a) Execute any contracts, agreements or other documents with any governmental agency or any person, corporation, association, partnership or other organization or entity that are necessary to accomplish the purposes of this act;
(b) Receive grants or any other contributions made to the State Board of Education to be used for specific purposes related to the goals of this act;
(c) Submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding the operation of the School Nurse Intervention Program;
(d) Submit to the State Auditor any financial records that are necessary for the Auditor to perform an annual audit of the commission as required by law;
(e) Adopt any rules or regulations that are necessary to carry out the purposes of this act; and
(f) Take any other actions that are necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.
SECTION 4. (1) There is established in the State Treasury a special fund to be known as the School Nurse Program Fund, which shall be comprised of the funds specified in subsection (2) of this section and any other funds that are authorized or required to be deposited into the special fund.
(2) From the tobacco settlement installment payments that the State of Mississippi receives during each calendar year, the sum of Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($7,500,000.00) shall be deposited into the special fund.
(3) The Legislature shall annually appropriate the funds in the special fund to the Office of Healthy Schools of the State Department of Education, which shall expend the funds solely for the purposes specified in Section 3 of this act. None of the funds in the special fund may be transferred to any other fund or appropriated or expended for any other purpose.
(4) All income from the investment of the funds in the special fund shall be credited to the account of the special fund. Any funds in the special fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund.
SECTION 5. Section 43-13-405, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-13-405. (1) In accordance with the purposes of this article, there is established in the State Treasury the Health Care Trust Fund, into which shall be deposited Two Hundred Eighty Million Dollars ($280,000,000.00) of the funds received by the State of Mississippi as a result of the tobacco settlement as of the end of fiscal year 1999, and all tobacco settlement installment payments made in subsequent years for which the use or purpose for expenditure is not restricted by the terms of the settlement, except as otherwise provided in Section 43-13-407(2) and (3) and Section 4 of this act. All income from the investment of the funds in the Health Care Trust Fund shall be credited to the account of the Health Care Trust Fund. The funds in the Health Care Trust Fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund.
(2) The Health Care Trust Fund shall remain inviolate and shall never be expended, except as provided in this article. The Legislature shall appropriate from the Health Care Trust Fund such sums as are necessary to recoup any funds lost as a result of any of the following actions:
(a) The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or other agency of the federal government, is successful in recouping tobacco settlement funds from the State of Mississippi;
(b) The federal share of funds for the support of the Mississippi Medicaid Program is reduced directly or indirectly as a result of the tobacco settlement;
(c) Federal funding for any other program is reduced as a result of the tobacco settlement; or
(d) Tobacco cessation programs are mandated by the federal government or court order.
(3) This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2010.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.