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— The state will be filing to seek reimbursements from the health insurance companies of parents who give consent for their children to get flu shots at a new flu vaccination program through public schools.

Under the program, the Arkansas Department of Health is working with schools to offer the flu vaccines to students at public schools. The school flu shot clinics begin in Washington County on Monday at Willis D. Shaw Elementary School and Har-Ber High School in Springdale.

The Elkins School District will be the next district to participate, as shots will be given for those students on Tuesday.

The forms parents are filling out to consent for their children to get the flu shot include a section for health insurance information. The department will not deny flu vaccines to students if their parents do not fill out the insurance information, but it is hoping to use it to cover some of the costs with the new program, Ed Barham, a public information officer with the Arkansas Department of Health, said.

“To help offset as much of the cost as possible, we will be trying to file as often as we can,” Barham said.

He added he didn’t think it would bea surprise to insurance companies if the state seeks reimbursements for shots administered through the program.

“The insurance companies know that, and they’ve been working with us,” Barham said.

The department is offering the seasonal flu shot and an H1N1, commonly called swine flu, nasal mist vaccine, Barham said. The seasonal flu vaccine was purchased through tobacco settlement money.

Barbara Ludwig, nursing supervisor for the Springdale School District, said preparing for the program has been a complicated process. She said she is concerned that many parents might not have properly filled out the permission forms and they will not be able to give vaccines to those students.

Barham recommended parents fill out the forms as carefully as they can, and if they have questions, they should contact their school nurse.

Sherry Hollingsworth, school nurse at Elkins, said her district will be administering the shots during parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday. If they catch a mistake on the permission forms, they can have the parent correct it on site.

Flu shot clinics at other county school districts will be held from November through December. A list of school flu clinics is available on the department’s Web site, www.healthyarkansas.com.

News, Pages 8 on 10/21/2009

Print Headline: State seeks to get insurance reimbursement for flu shots

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