Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Medicaid Program Put on Hold over Family Planning

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Medicaid Program Put on Hold over Family Planning

Article excerpt

A question as to whether family planning services would be included in a federal health screening and treatment program has caused the Ferguson-Florissant School Board to postpone a vote on joining the program.

The purpose of the Medicaid Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program, district officials said, is to ensure a comprehensive, preventive health care program for Medicaid-eligible children who are under the age of 21.

Board member Jeanette Wansing said, "I understand that family planning is part of the program, if so desired."

But Shirley Salmon, assistant superintendent of student support services, said, "In no way are we going to be involved in contraception or family planning."

Wansing said that according to a state medical manual, the program "can link at-risk adolescents to family planning." Another document from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that "basic required Medicaid services include family planning services and supplies."

"In that case," Wansing said, "to get money for reimbursement, the school would have to go along with these rules."

"No," said Karen Proffitt, community specialist for the district. "We are using these funds to increase our personnel. We are not relieving parents of their responsibility."

Proffitt said the program would be worth about $200,000 to the district, because about 25 percent of its students would qualify for Medicaid. With the federal reimbursements, the district would be able to expand programs and hire more workers.

Board Member H. Stuart Alsop said, "We are accepting funds to improve our children's welfare. If anyone steps in to tell us what to do, we can get out."

Wansing said she believed the Medicaid program was socialized medicine with the schools being used to promote universal health care. "I think it's inappropriate to be part of this program," she said. …

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