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Department of Health Responds to School District Complaint

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The ongoing dispute between Bay District school officials and the Health Department continues.

In a letter sent to health department administrator Doug Kent Wednesday afternoon, Superintendent Bill Husfelt recommended that the school board terminate the memorandum of understanding with the health department.

And today the school district submitted a health plan to the state without the authorization of the Florida Department of Health in Bay County. 

“After consulting with experts in Tallahassee and with our attorney, the School Health Services Plan was submitted today without the signatures of the Bay County Health Department officials,” officials wrote. “In lieu of a jointly-launched School Health Services Plan, the contract with PanCare outlines the District’s healthcare plan.”

The District ended their contract with the Health Department this year and contracted with PanCare for in school services. District officials recently accused health department nurses of stealing student health records from health rooms at more than 12 schools as they packed up this summer. 

The health department denies those allegations. 

In a response sent Friday afternoon the Florida Department of Health wrote that state law “requires that the school health services plan be developed by the Florida Department of Health, jointly with the School Board.”

Health officials added, “the Florida Department of Health have the responsibility to supervise the administration of the school health services program and perform periodic program reviews.”

The full statement from Nick Van Der Linden, Interim Communications Director is below:

The Florida Department of Health in Bay County yesterday received an email and letter that the Superintendent of Bay District Schools is recommending to end the Memorandum of Understanding with DOH-Bay and to submit the School Health Services Plan without the required signature of DOH-Bay.

Florida Statute 381.0056(4) requires that the school health services plan be developed by the Florida Department of Health, jointly with the School Board. Florida Statute 381.0056 also requires that the Florida Department of Health have the responsibility to supervise the administration of the school health services program and perform periodic program reviews.

The Department is currently reviewing the request and options for maintaining compliance with the law while focusing on the safety and health of Florida’s students.

The School district also released a statement today. 

“After consulting with experts in Tallahassee and with our attorney, the School Health Services Plan was submitted today without the signatures of the Bay County Health Department officials,” officials wrote. “In lieu of a jointly-launched School Health Services Plan, the contract with PanCare outlines the District’s healthcare plan.  We are in the process of drafting amendments to that contract to address additional services to be provided by PanCare in light of the recommendation for dissolution of the MOU with the Bay County Health Department. Just as in years past, the provider will be doing periodic self-monitoring audits. The FLDOH has been engaging in this practice for years and PanCare will now be completing the same process, using the same forms previously utilized by the FLDOH.  Unlike in years past, our new provider PanCare will be providing information from those self-monitoring audits to the District for district-monitored compliance checks. Also, just like in years past, there will continue to be oversight from the state level DOH. We remain focused on providing services of the highest quality to the students, and families, of Bay County and we are pleased to be partnered with PanCare as our provider.”

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