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Austin ISD Board Approves Seton Healthcare Family as Health Services Partner

Austin ISD's Board of Trustees approved a $7.1 million contract with Seton Healthcare Family at tonight's regular board meeting. The contract includes 75 full-time registered nurses, 48 clinical assistants and five administrative supports.

"We know students learn best when they are healthy, and that student health services decreases absenteeism, improves learning and contributes to a lifelong practice of healthy living," said Tracy Spinner, AISD Director of Student Health Services. "Health care providers enable students to be ready to learn by providing direct care and case management, conducting state-mandated screenings, connecting families to additional medical care and so much more. Our goal is to expand and improve on the services we provide. Increasing the availability, utilization and breadth of high-quality health services for students is the fundamental priority of the AISD Department of Health Services."

Integral Care would provide specialized training to nurses and clinical assistant II and school based mental health programming at 16 campuses.

In April, the district posted an RFP for student health services across all campuses. The RFP closed on May 1. Through the RFP process, a committee of parents, community representatives and principals reviewed the bids, recommending to the board that Seton Healthcare Family be the district's provider for student health services.

Seton's proposal includes Integral Care, CommUnity Care and UT School of Nursing as partners. The partners will create a Joint Health Advisory Council to ensure the contract is carried out and Seton will form and co-lead the Joint Advisory Committee with AISD to collaborate on future enhancements and new services.

"It has been Seton's privilege to provide health services to children in Austin ISD every year since 1996. Seton and AISD have created an innovative partnership that provides Austin students and families access to the child health expertise of Dell Children's Medical Center," said Mark Shen, M.D., CEO of Ascension Texas Accountable Care Network and Senior Vice President of Network Development, Ascension Texas. "The nurses of Dell Children's have received Magnet status, an affirmation of the highest level of commitment to top-quality nursing care. We look forward to building upon our 22-year partnership with AISD, delivering outstanding care and value to our children and families."

Seton has committed to using a HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing platform that allows clinical staff to communicate and attend digital professional development with each other during the day. In addition, tele-health will launch in selected schools to provide acute care by a doctor through a secure web-based platform to students that have parental consent. Telehealth is an added resource for students and families to access healthcare during the school day on campus and will not replace the school health team.

In addition, the RNs will participate in the Narcan program-a program to prevent overdoses-and all special education and 504 proceedings relating to medical, mental, and physical disabilities, as well as collaborate with community partners to provide on-campus immunization clinics through the Vaccines for Children program.