NBOA 2015 Recap: 7 Questions Business Officers Should Ask Themselves

If you’re a business officer, you have a lot on your mind. From budgets and audits to delegating tasks across departments, there’s likely no department you don’t have contact with, except one: the health center. 

The missing link between the independent school business office and its school health center isn’t new – in fact, health centers often feel like an island within their school. But this trend doesn’t have to be permanent, nor should it. That’s why we’re using data from the Annual Report of Independent School Health Services to show why business officers should be concerned about their health center. The result is a list of seven questions every independent school business officer should ask themselves on a daily basis. With these questions, business officers can be better prepared to manage risk, liability, and emergencies at their school.

Allen Cobb, Magnus Health CPO, and Wendy Barnhart, Director of Business and Finance at The Westminster Schools, recently presented these seven questions at the National Business Officers Association Annual Meeting. You can get a recap of that presentation by watching the video below, plus we’ve compiled all seven questions (plus extra data) right here. 

Risk Management

1. What is our nurse to student ratio?

nurse_to_student_ratioIf you know your school nurse to student ratio, you’re ahead of the curve – and if you don’t, now’s the time to find out. From our research, 89.4% of independent schools reported a ratio at or below 1 nurse for every 750 students. That means most independent schools meet or exceed the National Association of School Nurses‘ recommended ratio of 1:750. 

2. How much time do our health services professionals spend on daily visits?

On an annual basis, health services professionals spend only 45.3% of their time on daily student visits. The rest goes to medication administration, administrative tasks, training, emergency preparedness, and other miscellaneous tasks. Health services professionals take on many more tasks than you may realize – and it may be time to evaluate how your health center can save time on administrative tasks.

timespentannuallyinthehealthcenter

Liability

3. Do we have a zero tolerance policy in place?

percentofschoolsthatenforcezerotolerance-044692-editedOnly 39.1% of independent schools report having a policy that prohibits students from participating in any school activity on or off campus, including classes, until all required health information has been submitted. Having a zero tolerance policy for incomplete health forms helps everyone. It saves the school hundreds of hours that would be otherwise spent tracking down forms, and it provides staff members with the information needed in case of emergency.

Get the Zero Tolerance Policy Toolkit »

4. Do we have a health policies and procedures manual?

Only 21.2% of independent schools do not have a manual. You can see a full list of common policies in the Annual Report of Independent School Health Services to help you create a manual, or to review the one your school currently uses.percentofschoolsthathavewrittenmanualsforhealthpolicies

5. Do we treat staff and faculty at our school?

Routine care is provided for faculty and staff in the health center at 77.5% of independent schools, but many schools don’t realize that their health center provides care to staff. Knowing this information is vital to evaluating how your school manages staff and faculty health records.

Emergency Preparedness

6. Does every coach and chaperone have immediate access to vital health information on or off campus?

Only 56.3% of independent schools have an electronic medical record system, which means the other 43.7% still use a paper management system for student health forms. Although more schools are choosing to use electronic medical record systems, we still hear stories about paper forms getting lost each year – which is a huge liability risk for the business office.

7. Do we have a medical advisory board? 

doesyourschoolhaveamedicaladvisoryboardOnly 11.3% of independent schools have an advisory board in place. These boards serve as a trusted group to help you gain an even better understanding of your health center, and can help you make safe decisions that positively impact student health.

For more information on closing the missing link between your business office and health center, download the full Annual Report. With its data, you can be better informed to manage your health center and its staff.

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