Health Department conducts head checks in area schools

Staff Report -

MEIGS COUNTY — More than 1,800 elementary students in Meigs County had their heads checked during the recent lice checks at schools in Eastern, Meigs and Southern local schools.

The checks will be conducted three times per year by officials including a registered nurse, trained volunteers, community health workers and children’s services employees.

In Meigs Local Schools, 775 students were screened, with 34 (4.4 percent) found to be positive.

In Eastern Local Schools, 538 students were screened with 12 (2.2 percent) found to be positive.

In Southern Local Schools, 522 students were screened with 13 (2.5 percent) found to be positive.

The Health Department sent forms home with the students screened for billing purposes, as the head checks are a billable item under some programs, including Medicaid. A total of 247 viable billing sheets were received in Meigs Local, with 72 percent from Medicaid. In Southern Local, 208 billing sheets were received with 55 percent from Medicaid. Eastern Local had 138 viable billing sheets returned with 51 percent Medicaid. Health Department Administrator Courtney Midkiff explained that it is unlikely that insurance plans other than Medicaid will pay for the checks.

In between sessions, students who have been identified as exposed or whom have a chronic case, will be referred to the Meigs County Health Department (MCHD).

According to the policies and procedures for the head check program, Students who are found to be positive for live lice and/or nits will receive an “exclusion notice” that will be sent home with the child. The “re-admission” portion of the same form will be used when the child is “cleared” to return to school, which may be performed at the school or at the MCHD. The health department can provide written and verbal education and information regarding the prevention and treatment of head lice, as well as recommendations as to treatments.

A “hot wash” meeting was held on Oct. 17 by those involved in the program to discuss strengths and weaknesses of the program in preparation for the checks in the winter and spring.

Staff Report