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In New York City, at least 140,000 school children have asthma, but nearly 60% of those kids do not have critical health forms on file at their school. Children’s Health Fund has teamed up with the city’s Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) to tackle this key issue.
When a child has an asthma attack and doesn’t have those forms on file, he or she generally has to be taken to the emergency room instead of being treated at school.
“Asthma is epidemic in New York City and across the country, but it is a treatable, manageable condition. When children are unable to receive their reliever medication in a timely manner, they may miss valuable hours in the classroom,” said Children’s Health Fund President Irwin Redlener, MD.
“Parents, pediatricians and schools need to work together so that every child is healthy and ready to learn.”
When a student has to be taken to the hospital, it not only disrupts that child’s school day, says CSA President Ernest A. Logan – it’s often scary for everyone involved.
“It’s frightening and disruptive not just for principals, assistant principals and teachers, but it’s often terrifying for the other children at school,” Logan told ExpandEDSchools.org. “As for the child having the attack, being taken by ambulance without a parent can be traumatic. A principal, assistant principal or someone else in authority at the school always accompanies the child, but nothing can make up for a loved one.”
The eye-catching public education subway ads in English and Spanish remind parents to fill out and turn in their children’s school health forms.
In New York City, parents should check to make sure their child’s Emergency Contact Card and the Comprehensive Medical Examination form are up-to-date. And for kids with asthma, a critical document is the Medication Administration Form (504 or MAF), which provides parent/guardian consent for children to get needed medication during the school day. The form must be filled out by the child’s health care provider.
The medical forms required by schools vary from state to state – but wherever they live, parents across the country should check with administrators at the beginning of each school year to make sure their children’s forms are filled out and signed.
Getting kids healthy and ready for school by ensuring the proper medical forms are filled out is a national issue. That's why CSA's national parent union -- the American Federation of School Administrators -- has featured the CSA-CHF collaboration in its fall newsletter, including an interview with Dr. Redlener and CHF Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Delaney Gracy.