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Medical Screenings without parental notification (public school)


East Coast Sue
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Medical Checks at School   

144 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you be concerned if your child had vision, hearing, spine exam at school without prior notification?

    • Yes, I would be concerned.
    • No, I would not be concerned.
    • Other.


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I'm making this a poll, but I haven't done one before so I'm hoping I do it right.  The screenings (vision, spine, hearing) were done at a public school without prior notification.  The question- Would this concern you?

 

UPDATE: The screenings were for scoliosis, vision, hearing.  All students were kept together and a few of the students became upset (crying) because they were told that they failed the test (their information was being shared without any respect for privacy).  My dd was told she didn't have scoliosis (but she definitely does have it).  I'm not opposed to the screenings but I feel that notifying the parents is key.  My kids are already screened by professionals so I would definitely opt out.

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No, it was standard at the schools I went to growing up--at least vision and hearing, and a weekly fluoride swish & spit at least one year (maybe the town's water wasn't fluoridated?), and I believe a lice check at one point as well. The scoliosis screening was done at ped appointments, though, not in school.

 

I would be surprised if it bothered anyone unless it was suddenly started after never having been done in the past. Then again, I would expect it also to be in the parent handbook or on the website calendar for those who looked.

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No, I'm not concerned and I'm honestly glad our school did them.  They told me middle son needed glasses.  He REALLY needed glasses.  We never knew.  The poor lad went on vacations with us and couldn't see a good bit of what the rest of us saw.  That still bothers me to be honest.  The day he got his glasses he went around the whole day talking about all he could finally see.

 

We did well care health visits every year when our kids were young, but somehow he either slipped through the cracks or his vision deteriorated quickly one year between visits.  I'll never know I suppose.

 

Nonetheless, I'm glad our school did them!

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I am not sure it would bother me really, but I think a quick note home to parents that they are doing screenings on certain days would be nice.  I remember doing vision and hearing screenings every year in school,  My mom usually volunteered to help with them so I know she knew they were going on.  Spinal screenings in middle school needed parental consent, I think maybe because it required shirts be taken off.  Our school also offered sports physicals every year starting in middle school, which also required a signed note from a parent.

 

I would have a problem with the tooth check, but only because my youngest has very bad reactions (hives, vomiting)  to red dye and the little chew pills they use to see how well you brush are full of it.

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Nope, wouldn't bother me at all. They're all relevant to a child being able to learn, after all. You can't learn if you can't hear or see properly, and having a curved spine would probably make it difficult to sit in a hard desk chair all day. If they find a problem they just let the parent know. I can't understand why anyone would have a problem with something so benign.

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At one time, I would have said no, because I underwent these screening as a student and they certainly were no big deal.  But now I would be concerned about this because of the computerization and easy availability of medical records to anyone with hacking ability or a computer.  Even the screening results are entered into a computer and shared with whomever the school deems are its "educational partners".  The possibility of my child's medical records being hacked or shared make me not only think notification is appropriate, but that an opt-in consent is necessary, as well.  I look at the lack of notification as an indication of an organization that does not take medical privacy, parental consent, and the possibility of hacking seriously.

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The screenings I don't mind although I expect a letter letting parents know the screenings are scheduled. That way parents can discuss what will happen with younger children who may have some anxiety. I opted ds out of hearing screenings since he is deaf and sees an audiologist several times a year. I did object to BMI information being collected and opted all my children out of that.

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The screenings don't bother me, but I would expect notice from the school, even if it was nothing more than a note in the handbook listing the screenings the school would do over the course of the year.

 

I used to get VERY nervous over these types of things as a kid, and I'd want to be able to let my children know they were on the docket and not to worry about them.

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We opted out of these when DS was in public school. Those screening for him were useless unless you knew how his disabilities could affect the results. One time the school disregarded our opt out and did the vision test. I still giggle on how they sent home a letter telling me he needed glasses as he told the he couldn't see. How they determined that on at the time a nonverbal kid would didn't know a A from a Z, we will never know. His eye doctor sent them a polite note at the time explaining how to correctly do a vision test on nonverbal children. DS didn't need glasses.

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This was standard when I was a kid.

 

Actually it was standard when my mother was a child in the public schools in RI in the 50s.  Her tonsils were deemed defective.  The school sent home the note and scheduled her tonsillectomy.  I have the cute little card which was sent home to her mom and dad telling them to report with little Suzy to the hospital at such and such a day and time.

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At one time, I would have said no, because I underwent these screening as a student and they certainly were no big deal.  But now I would be concerned about this because of the computerization and easy availability of medical records to anyone with hacking ability or a computer.  Even the screening results are entered into a computer and shared with whomever the school deems are its "educational partners".  The possibility of my child's medical records being hacked or shared make me not only think notification is appropriate, but that an opt-in consent is necessary, as well.  I look at the lack of notification as an indication of an organization that does not take medical privacy, parental consent, and the possibility of hacking seriously.

 

That's a good point that I didn't think of...

 

But seeing as it's screenings for things that aren't typically a big deal like needing glasses or things that are (hopefully) really temporary like lice, and not things that are more cause for medical discrimination or high insurance premiums and the like, I think I still wouldn't be too bothered. Also, it doesn't go into the medical records proper so the school doesn't have those to mishandle.

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At the private school where I taught, we did the vision and scoliosis screenings for 7th graders (I don't know if elementary had anything), but parents were notified and could opt out.  I believe the school is required by law to provide these screenings.

 

I don't have a problem with them being done, though I would probably choose to opt out since my kids go to annual well visits at the pediatrician's office, not to mention that they have a grandfather who's an optometrist and examines their eyes annually.  But if the opt-out paper got stuck at the bottom of my kid's backpack or something, meh.  My opting out would be because I think the screenings are redundant for kids who are having annual checkups.  

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Yes, it would bug me without notification. I just received the letter two weeks ago for my son's school screening and I called to opt out. I didn't opt out last year and it was a pain to go to all his docs to fill out the paperwork they sent to tell us what we already know. Yes, the boy needs glasses, yes, he has little hearing in one ear, yes, he has scoliosis. Duh. You know that. It's in his records.

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I wouldn't be bothered by the screenings but I would be concerned why parents wouldn't be notified or something included in the student handbook. My local school district shares a great deal of info. I would wonder why no notification was given. I would be happy that they were doing the screenings, just let me know.

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Our insurance information is on file at the school. I don't need to be billed for something I didn't agree to.

 

Their former public school does have opt in free screening on site for those who income qualify.

 

I had opt in annual health screening at school growing up. It was a convenience for the parent.

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Our insurance information is on file at the school. I don't need to be billed for something I didn't agree to.

 

Their former public school does have opt in free screening on site for those who income qualify.

 

I had opt in annual health screening at school growing up. It was a convenience for the parent.

 

Why would you be billed?  I've worked in all sorts of schools, and they've all had these screenings.  None of them billed for it.

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Somebody had two WTM windows open at once.  :laugh:

The possible fraud angle is why I suggested contacting the insurance company.  They will know if the code is being used to get more money out of them.  And they will come down on fraud with access to much better lawyers (I assume) than you have at your disposal.

 

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I would opt out. I would be bothered if they did it regardless of my preference that they not.

We have a pediatrician, dentist, and eye doctor who performs those evaluations - I prefer not to have too many "cooks in the kitchen" :)

I'm glad it's available, though, for those who want or need it, and if I ever needed it, and my children were in school and didn't have access to regular dental or vision care, it wouldn't bother me a bit.

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I would opt out. I would be bothered if they did it regardless of my preference that they not.

We have a pediatrician, dentist, and eye doctor who performs those evaluations - I prefer not to have too many "cooks in the kitchen" :)

I'm glad it's available, though, for those who want or need it, and if I ever needed it, and my children were in school and didn't have access to regular dental or vision care, it wouldn't bother me a bit.

 

We have insurance and my dds have access to regular health, dental and vision care. We still didn't know one dd had 80/20 vision with her glasses. :huh: She never complained and we didn't notice anything. This was only six months after a regular screening and new glasses. Vision and hearing can change rapidly, especially in growing children/teens, and an extra "cook in the kitchen" isn't a bad idea for schools.

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Our insurance information is on file at the school. I don't need to be billed for something I didn't agree to.

 

Their former public school does have opt in free screening on site for those who income qualify.

 

I had opt in annual health screening at school growing up. It was a convenience for the parent.

Why would your insurance be billed? The students just go to the nurse's office to do a quick chart read or auditory test.

 

We do vision and hearing screenings all the time at my school, especially if the students tell us that they are having trouble in those areas. It saves the parents time and money so they don't waste a dr visit if not needed. 

​Nurse sends a note home stating "________ had a vision test today. Struggled with xyz." 

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Why would you be billed? I've worked in all sorts of schools, and they've all had these screenings. None of them billed for it.

I'm guessing that comment was in response to Jean in Newcastle's post, which was intended for a different thread and may have caused confusion. If not, I don't know why insurance billing would be brought up.

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I'm making this a poll, but I haven't done one before so I'm hoping I do it right.  The screenings (vision, spine, hearing) were done at a public school without prior notification.  The question- Would this concern you?

 

No.

 

I understand the desire for privacy, but knowing the state of health care and the fact that without screenings, many children would simply not get treated--I'm willing to sacrifice that amount of privacy for the greater good.

 

To me, privacy and my desire not to have anyone interfere does not trump my desire to see as many children cared for as possible. I don't care why they're poor or neglected and I don't care whether this will make the biggest difference.

 

To me, caring for children in the near term is always more important than my sense of privacy / control. I think control is alluring and enjoyable but it is not something I value.

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At one time, I would have said no, because I underwent these screening as a student and they certainly were no big deal. But now I would be concerned about this because of the computerization and easy availability of medical records to anyone with hacking ability or a computer. Even the screening results are entered into a computer and shared with whomever the school deems are its "educational partners". The possibility of my child's medical records being hacked or shared make me not only think notification is appropriate, but that an opt-in consent is necessary, as well. I look at the lack of notification as an indication of an organization that does not take medical privacy, parental consent, and the possibility of hacking seriously.

My school does these. We are private and it is expected for accreditation. I am the reporter and absolutely no names go to the state. Just numbers of results.

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I don't have a problem with a school doing these screens, but just because no data goes to the state at your school doesn't mean a hacker can't gain access, doesn't negate a parent's right to control their child's medical info/treatment/screening, doesn't mean data doesn't go to the government in other states, and doesn't mean an "educational partner" the parent would rather not share with can't get the info. 

My school does these. We are private and it is expected for accreditation. I am the reporter and absolutely no names go to the state. Just numbers of results.

 

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I don't have a problem with a school doing these screens, but just because no data goes to the state at your school doesn't mean a hacker can't gain access, doesn't negate a parent's right to control their child's medical info/treatment/screening, doesn't mean data doesn't go to the government in other states, and doesn't mean an "educational partner" the parent would rather not share with can't get the info.

Why would a hacker try to get children's hearing test results? There should not be any valuable or sensitive info (such as Social Security numbers) in there. It's not even detailed testing, just screening. If the screening detects an issue, the nurse sends a letter to the parents telling them to take kids to the doctor for follow up. I don't think it would be any more sensitive than any other school records, which would be unavoidable should you decide to enroll your child in public school. You opt in by sending your kids there.

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Why would a hacker try to get children's hearing test results? There should not be any valuable or sensitive info (such as Social Security numbers) in there. It's not even detailed testing, just screening. If the screening detects an issue, the nurse sends a letter to the parents telling them to take kids to the doctor for follow up. I don't think it would be any more sensitive than any other school records, which would be unavoidable should you decide to enroll your child in public school. You opt in by sending your kids there.

 

Your iris is like fingerprints- unique to the person. So *if* a photo is taken it could be a threat to privacy.

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Your iris is like fingerprints- unique to the person. So *if* a photo is taken it could be a threat to privacy.

Unless things have vastly changed in the last few years, there aren't iris high res scans being taken by school nurses. The screenings are the look at the chart at the end of the hall can you see the E? type done by a school nurse.

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Unless things have vastly changed in the last few years, there aren't iris high res scans being taken by school nurses. The screenings are the look at the chart at the end of the hall can you see the E? type done by a school nurse.

OK, cool. I'm not familiar with these screens as my eldest didn't have these at school, nor did I.

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They're doing a quick and rudimentary screen on things easily missed that can affect a child's ability to learn. Every child is screened. If they think they found something that needs to be checked further, they send a letter to the parent. They don't diagnose and they don't treat.

 

They generally spend less than a minute per student.

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No, I'm not concerned and I'm honestly glad our school did them.  They told me middle son needed glasses.  He REALLY needed glasses.  We never knew.  The poor lad went on vacations with us and couldn't see a good bit of what the rest of us saw.  That still bothers me to be honest.  The day he got his glasses he went around the whole day talking about all he could finally see.

 

We did well care health visits every year when our kids were young, but somehow he either slipped through the cracks or his vision deteriorated quickly one year between visits.  I'll never know I suppose.

 

Nonetheless, I'm glad our school did them!

You shouldn't feel too bad, this happens a lot.  I went from being able to see just fine in 7th grade to 20/70 in 8th to 20/200 in 9th.  I was 1/2 through 8th grade before anyone figured it out.  Both my kids could see just fine last year but we're going to eye doc next week and I fully expect them to both need glasses.

 

I finally leveled off at around 20/550 when I was 19-20.

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Why would a hacker try to get children's hearing test results? There should not be any valuable or sensitive info (such as Social Security numbers) in there. It's not even detailed testing, just screening. If the screening detects an issue, the nurse sends a letter to the parents telling them to take kids to the doctor for follow up. I don't think it would be any more sensitive than any other school records, which would be unavoidable should you decide to enroll your child in public school. You opt in by sending your kids there.

 

Exactly.  There is nothing in one of those files which would draw the interest of a hacker.

 

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Why would you be billed? I've worked in all sorts of schools, and they've all had these screenings. None of them billed for it.

There is a waiver form that allows medical attention using the insurance on file for the child. My insurance loves fo bill for the weirdest staff and we have to contest the charges rather often. Maybe we are talking about different kinds of screening though?

The in school screenings were the same as those once a year screenings included in employee health care plans for dependents. So it is a convenience service rather than a free for all service. Kind of like a mobile clinic. It is also an opt-in.

My kids previous online charter has some free screening days which were sponsored. The parents just need to register for one of the free time slot and bring their child. I don't know what is included since the email flyer said basic screening and my kids already had their annual screening by the time the flyer came.

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Everyone's answering the question about if the screenings are ok. Only a couple people actually answered the op's question..."without notification" is key.

 

I, personally, in upper elementary had a horrible experience with a screening because I didn't know it was going to happen. There's no reason not to notify parents and students that the kids are going to be examined.

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Because the hearing test is not the only piece of medical info in a child's computerized medical records; often more sensitive info is included, as well, such as medical info that pertains to learning disabilities and disability accommodations.  For those who live in a district that asks for social security numbers when a child enrolls (such as ours), many school records also file those medical records under social security numbers (they call them student ID numbers, but they are SS numbers).  My kids' school (when they were enrolled) listed their grade access and permanent record under SS numbers. 

 

No, I did not opt-in to exposing my child's medical records when I enrolled; I opted in to an *education* for my children, not medical services of any type. In fact, I had to opt-in via writing for other medical procedures the school offered if I wanted them for my child (vaccines, BMI screening, dental exams), so clearly, the school recognizes that parents to not automatically opt-in to medical screening/treatment if they recognize the need to ask permission for some medical procedures.

Why would a hacker try to get children's hearing test results? There should not be any valuable or sensitive info (such as Social Security numbers) in there. It's not even detailed testing, just screening. If the screening detects an issue, the nurse sends a letter to the parents telling them to take kids to the doctor for follow up. I don't think it would be any more sensitive than any other school records, which would be unavoidable should you decide to enroll your child in public school. You opt in by sending your kids there.

 

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This is exactly what I did, in writing.  But there is no good reason not to notify the parents and give them the option of opt-out.  Parents with children who get regular medical care aren't missing anything, parents who are concerned about privacy issues can limit exposure of their kids' medical info, and neglectful parents who have children that don't get regular care wouldn't care to bother with the opt-out, either.

These screening tests are so common, that I would assume they happen at some point. If I were bothered by them, I'd be proactive about learning when they occurred and how to opt out.

 

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