Research / Health & Human Services


Policy Analysis | April 2019

School Counselor Legislation in the South

Cody Allen, Policy Analyst

Along with the more routine duties of academic and career development, school counselors also have a responsibility to assist students with personal and social development. The student-to-school counselor ratio across the South and the time allotment school counselors must spend providing direct services to students recently has drawn greater attention, as well as the need to clarify these direct services.

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) narrows in on two best practices for states to implement regarding their school counselor programs. The first is a recommended student-to-school counselor ratio of 250-to-1. While the second is a recommendation that school counselors allocate 80 percent of their work-time to providing direct services to students and only 20 percent to non-related or administrative tasks.1

Student-to-School Counselor Ratios

In 2013 and 2017, respectively, North Carolina and Tennessee were the first states to require an 80-20 allotment for their school counselors, although neither state has yet to achieve the recommended 250‑to-1 ratio recommended by the ASCA.2

According to the ASCA and the U.S. Department of Education, based on the most recent available data, the average student-to-school counselor ratio among SLC states for the 2015-2016 school year was 411‑to-1 (slightly better than the national average of 464-to-1), with no SLC states meeting the recommended ratio. As the table illustrates, Tennessee came closest to meeting the recommended ASCA ratio.

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SLC Regional Resource | April 2019

Surprise Medical Billing in the South: A Balancing Act

Roger Moore, Policy Analyst

Balance billing is a common practice that occurs when a medically insured patient receives treatment from an out-of-network healthcare provider, either intentionally or inadvertently, and subsequently is billed the difference between the insurance company’s reimbursement rate and the amount charged by the provider. Not bound by contractual, in-network rate agreements with insurers, out-of-network providers are permitted to bill patients the remaining balance for services rendered after deductibles, copayments and coinsurance obligations have been paid. In most cases, the amount charged by a provider and the insurer’s reimbursement rate are significantly different, resulting in a confusing and/or financially distressful medical bill that must be settled or resolved by the patient.

As healthcare costs in the United States continue to climb, often forcing consumers to pay higher premiums and deductibles for care, balance billing has become a controversial and confounding policy issue involving insurers, healthcare providers, consumer advocate organizations and regulators at both the state and federal levels. Balance billing most frequently occurs after patients unintentionally receive care outside their insurance network, either during emergencies or other situations when options to choose providers are restricted.

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Policy Analysis | April 2019

Federal Legislation on Rural Hospitals

Nick Bowman, Research and Publications Associate

Introduction

In 2016, approximately 62 million Americans, nearly one-fifth of the total population, lived in rural areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2017, there were 1,875 rural community hospitals and 1,971 rural hospitals in the United States, 1 per the American Hospital Association (AHA). With decreasing patient volumes and increasing regulations, many rural hospitals have struggled to maintain financial viability in recent years.

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2018-2019 Chair

Senator
Katrina Shealy

South Carolina

Representative Fredrick Love, Arkansas
2018-2019 Vice Chair

Representative
Fredrick J. Love

Arkansas

Immediate Past Chair

(Former) Senator
Doug Overbey

Tennessee

Roger Moore
Committee Liaison

Roger Moore
Policy Analyst


Ensuring the public’s general welfare and protection are among states’ most pressing concerns, with both areas constituting considerable shares of state budgets. The SLC Human Services & Public Safety Committee has a broad agenda, which takes into account the challenges states face in the areas of human services and corrections, as well as policies and programs that address them. The committee frequently undertakes assessments of pressing health issues including the national opioid crisis, organ donations and long-term care, as well as various corrections issues such as aging inmate populations, female offenders and mental health parity in prisons.

More SLC Research into Health & Human Services


Other | January 2019

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Policy Analysis | January 2019

Medical Marijuana Laws in Southern States

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The Growth of Synthetic Opioids in the South

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Poverty Statistics for Southern States

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Suicide Rates in the South

Comparative Data Report | July 2018

Medicaid

SLC Regional Resource | May 2018

Opioids and Organ Donations: A Tale of Two Crises

SLC Special Series Report | December 2017

Long-Term Care in the South (Part II)

Comparative Data Report | July 2017

Medicaid

Policy Analysis | April 2017

Cross-State Health Insurance Policies

SLC Special Series Report | January 2017

Long-Term Care in the South (Part 1)

Comparative Data Report | June 2016

Medicaid

SLC Regional Resource | May 2016

Spread of Zika: Impact on Southern States

SLC Regional Resource | April 2015

Vapor Rising: E-Cigarettes in the SLC States

Webinar | October 2014

Food Safety Modernization Act

Comparative Data Report | August 2014

Medicaid

SLC Regional Resource | March 2014

A Special Condition: Medical Marijuana in SLC States

Comparative Data Report | July 2013

Medicaid

Comparative Data Report | July 2012

Medicaid

Policy Analysis | September 2011

Prospective Changes in Long-Term Care Policies

Policy Analysis | May 2011

A Prescription Drug Epidemic

Comparative Data Report | March 2011

Medicaid

SLC Regional Resource | July 2010

Meth: Resurgence in the South

Policy Analysis | January 2010

Which SLC states have drug recycling programs?

SLC Regional Resource | January 2010

Autism and Schools

SLC Issue Alert | January 2009

An HIV Epidemic?

Comparative Data Report | December 2008

Medicaid

Comparative Data Report | November 2007

Medicaid

Comparative Data Report | November 2006

Medicaid

Comparative Data Report | November 2005

Medicaid

Comparative Data Report | November 2004

Medicaid

Comparative Data Report | November 2003

Medicaid

Comparative Data Report | November 2002

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Medicaid