Texas A&M University-Commerce Stays Ahead of State Legislation
Every time state legislation changes, schools must not only be aware but be ready to comply and enforce compliance among the student body. 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 regarding e missing documentation, communicate with those students with inadequate paperwork, and enforce predetermined sanctions on those students out of compliance. The school also had to handle all of the communication and paperwork associated with students exempt from the new legislation.
In the past, exemptions, waivers, and non-mandatory vaccinations made handling the paperwork far less time-consuming and 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 SHR (Student Health Record) software.
“[SHR software] 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
Because Magnus understands that schools want to be more efficient and cost-conscious, SHR was designed to save both time and money and allowed Texas A&M-Commerce to take advantage of the many benefits of a paperless system.
An integral part of driving efficiency is Magnus Health’s SHR ability to communicate seamlessly with a school’s existing student information system (SIS). This integration 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 SHR. Communicating in this manner means that as students submit their health information, and it is approved in the SHR, any holds placed on the student’s school account are lifted. Because this process is entirely automated, schools need to only look at their SIS to know which students have the proper meningitis information on file, and are compliant with the 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.”
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.
The new immunization state legislation changes the way schools have to go about admissions. The best way to become compliant is to decide how the process will be handled before the law takes effect. Schools must ask themselves the hard questions and determine which departments will take action, what requirements are applicable to which students, and how those new requirements impact overall school and student processes. No stone can remain unturned when it comes to student health and complying with the related legislation.
Magnus Health SHR called on A&M-Commerce to answer those tough questions, and 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, Texas A&M-Commerce manages the bacterial meningitis requirement in a simple, paperless environment, ensuring both the school and students are compliant with the state law.