Texas A&M University-Commerce stays ahead of state legislation.

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SCHOOL PROFILE

The Challenge

Every time state legislation changes, schools must not only be aware, but be ready to comply and enforce compliance among the student body. It is much easier said than done. This is the task all of Texas faced leading up to, and following the passing of HB 300/ SB 1107. January 1, 2012, the new bacterial meningitis legislation took effect, requiring all entering students at public and private or independent institutions of higher education to have an initial bacterial meningitis vaccination or booster dose during the five-year period preceding, or at least 10 days prior to, the first day of the first semester.

Not only did the law require new information be collected from students, but schools then had to determine which school department (admissions, housing, etc.) would handle the influx of paperwork. Then that department had to determine if the submitted paperwork was compliant with state requirements, follow up with those missing documentation, communicate with those students with inadequate paperwork, and enforce predetermined sanctions on those students out of compliance. And on top of that, there were students exempt from the new legislation, and handling all of the communication and paperwork associated with them.

In the past, exemptions, waivers, and non-mandatory vaccinations made handling the paperwork far less time consuming, and far less confusing for all parties involved. But with the new legislation and mandatory compliance, schools were forced to figure out the details, and execute within a short period of time. For Texas A&M University– Commerce, and many other Texas colleges, managing this new requirement was made easier with Magnus Health SMR (Student Medical Record).

[SMR] has provided a great service to our students as we educate them on the law and the step-by-step process…

– Jody Todhunter, Director of Undergraduate Admissions

The Solution

Because Magnus Health understands that schools want to be more efficient and cost-conscious, SMR was designed to save both time and money, and allowed A&M- Commerce to take advantage of the many benefits of a paperless system.

An integral part of driving efficiency is Magnus Health SMR’s ability to communicate seamlessly with a school’s existing student information system (SIS). This communication is facilitated via an application programming interface (API), and ensures that duplicate data entry is eliminated. A school admissions department can enter students into their SIS, and through the API, automatically communicate the student information to the SMR. As information is updated in the SIS during the year, that same information is modified in the SMR. Communicating in this manner means that as students submit their health information, and it is approved in the SMR, any holds placed on the student’s school account are lifted. Because this process is entirely automated, schools need only look at their SIS to know which students have the proper meningitis information on file, and are compliant with legislation.

The Result

Managing new meningitis legislation.

Magnus provided a hub to communicate with students about the meningitis law, and the required vaccination or exemption documents. As Jody Todhunter, A&M-Commerce Director of Undergraduate Admissions noted, “[Magnus] has provided a good system to allow the collection of the documents, and have had an expedient turnaround with a decision for students.”

Using Magnus RNs to review documents.

Because Magnus RNs are reviewing documents for the school as a part of Magnus Health’s Compliance Services, turnaround time is diminished and does not require action by A&M-Commerce staff. In 2012 alone, Magnus RNs approved documents for over 3,000 A&M-Commerce students, and over 120,200 total students at various Texas colleges and universities.

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[Magnus] has provided a good system to allow the collection of documents, and have had an expedient turnaround with a decision for students.

– Jody Todhunter, Director of Undergraduate Admissions

The Result

Freeing up administrative time.

Easing the administrative burden, “has allowed me to direct manpower to other areas of my office throughout the academic year,” Todhunter said. “As a regional university I don’t have a large staff and many have to wear multiple hats in the office. [SMR] has provided great service to our students as we educate them on the law and the step-by-step process to meet the requirements,” he added.

“It took us about five to 10 minutes to get all the files we needed. We downloaded everything and managed to get through Sandy…I was afraid that with online medical records, we would have our first serious problem. But we didn’t, and everything worked out fine,” Gorman said.

Making legislation compliance a priority.

Like any software implementation, lessons at A&M-Commerce were learned early and quickly. Todhunter’s biggest recommendation to other schools considering SMR is to “Get IT involved at the onset…it can’t just be another thing to implement with other daily IT issues.”

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Summary

Texas A&M-Commerce called on Magnus to provide a solution to the communication and collection challenges they faced because of the meningitis law. As a result, A&M-Commerce has the bacterial meningitis requirement managed in a simple, paperless environment, ensuring both the school and students are compliant with state law.

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