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Pike Co. school nurse jobs in jeopardy

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Some school nurse jobs could be in jeopardy leaving many parents and school administrators worried about their children.

Pike County school nurses are employed through the health department, and officials say state funding has been cut. Now they are running out of money to keep the nurses in place.

Some Pike County parents are outraged at the thought of losing school nurses.

"They take care of our children as well as they would their own," said Pike County parent Becky Boyer whose daughter says her school nurse is like a second mom.

They say without school nurses teachers will have the added burden of making sure students are properly cared for when ill.

"If something happens how is she just going to take time out to attend to this one child when 19 or 20 are running around wild," said Pike County parent Thelma Thacker.

Officials with the Pike County Health Department say the Medicaid Manage Care Program is suing the state and stopped reimbursing them for the nurse programs.

"They are saying that they did not receive the correct information when they entered into the contract, and they're wanting to terminate the contract," said Interim Public Heath Director Cindy Hamilton.

Nurse Rhonda Conway says working in the schools in necessary especially for kids with chronic illnesses.

"There are kids here that if there was not a nurse here their parents would not let them come, and I feel like it's important that they get to be in school," said Conway.

Health department officials say all they can do is wait to see if funding returns.

"We've got the support of the Boards of Education, the Board of Health. Everyone wants it to continue," said Hamilton.

Officials say they might put the nurses on a part time program to keep them in schools as long as possible.

Health department officials say several other counties have already had to terminate their school nurse programs.

They are urging parents to contact local legislators to support the program.

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