Thursday, July 18, 2019

All set

Andrew and the big kids left the house at 7:30, arriving at the county health office at 7:45. There were already a good 30 families in line before them and the office wasn't due to open until 8:00.

It's noon and they just got home. But they survived and $135 later, we are now able to register our children for school.

When I look at form 3300, it looks like a fine idea to me. I think it's wonderful that they (the government of Georgia) want each child to meet a baseline of health (and to be referred to specialists if they don't). I thought that having the form filled out would be easy, until I realized that it had to be done by a Georgia-licensed professional. And therein lies the rub.

Such a mandate—along with the 30-day time limit—puts an undue burden on families (considering the mandate only affects families moving from out of state, who already have a plethora of other things to worry about, not the least of which is that insurance often takes awhile to kick in) and on healthcare professionals within the state (considering I was unable to book an appointment at a pediatrician's office within the 30-day limit and the multiple times the county health clinic told me they were, to put it lightly, swamped).

I don't propose eliminating the form (because, as I mentioned, I think it's a good idea to have a standard of health for children attending public schools (and for children, in general), though I feel that access such a thing (good health in the best of circumstances, and access to health care in the worst of circumstances) should be a right, not a privilege).

I do, however, think that they need to begin accepting out-of-state documentation (which really isn't that complicated to read, trust me (I'm no medical professional and yet I seem to be able to read medical files from multiple states (yea, verily, multiple countries) without too much difficulty (except for when they're in Arabic and then I admittedly struggle a little bit, but even when I presented Egyptian documents to Utah officials they were able to figure stuff out and North Carolina officials also seemed to think that was interesting and figured stuff out...just saying))).

Had I been able to have my previous pediatrician give my children a mark of good health on the paper, it would have eliminated a whole lot of struggle for our family and would have freed up time at the county health clinic for people who actually needed to be there.

While I'm happy that they accepted the letter from my dentist (which literally just says, "Our patient, [name], was seen in our office on [date] and received a comprehensive exam, radiographs, and fluoride treatment. At this time it was determined that [name] is in good oral health. No further treatment is necessary." (and which is somehow better than the actual dental record)) as evidence of good oral health, I'm also confused by this.

The form says that only Georgia-licensed professionals can sign off on the form. But they accepted that letter without question and just crossed off that section of the form.

They would not—would not—accept the paperwork from our Utah doctor's office, however, even though their well-child checks are within the year-window. So, we had to have each of the children have a "nutrition check," which was literally just the nurse weighing and measuring the children and calculating their BMI (which even I can do). Andrew said that when they weighed Rachel they wrote down her weight, and then they measured her and wrote down her weight again. He pointed this out but the nurse brushed him off—because she knew best, of course—and then the computer got mad at her when she tried to enter Rachel in as [undisclosed height/weight, but let's just say "over 7 feet tall"] and then she was like, "Oh, I wrote down her weight twice!" and they had to go measure her again.

So we had to pay for that. They couldn't just take their weight/height/precalculated BMI/percentile from the well-child check forms I had faxed over?! Because they weren't on Georgia letterhead (which I knew, but they said that they would be willing to transfer over documentation from out-of-state at the clinic for a more minor fee (but then they said that the forms weren't detailed enough even though I could point to where their BMI was listed on the form with one eye closed)).

The vision test as well makes me angry because I had the school fax them their vision test results, which says the "pass." The issue the county health office had with that is that it doesn't say what the results are in each eye. So I found the Utah law online for them that defines a "pass" as 20/30 vision or better, which is the very requirement the Georgia form asks for. But, they said, the records don't say exactly what their vision is in each eye, so it's not valid.

So they did a vision test on each of my children and marked on Form 3300 that my children—and I quote—"Passed (20/30 in each eye for age 6 and above)". So, like, super more detailed than the vision paperwork I had faxed over to them in the first place. Thanks, guys.

The hearing test, well, I think it's a little silly that I had to get all my children tested since pretty much every state requires a hearing test prior to kindergarten, which all of my children took and passed. But Georgia requires all out-of-state students to have a hearing test within the last twelve months. None of my children had had that, so I knew we'd have to get that done. And they all passed, so that's good to know (because if I had to just give my word as a mother that my children have good hearing I honestly don't know that I could say that they did). I do have to wonder, however, if Georgia shouldn't also require hearing tests for their older pupils. Because they don't. They get tested prior to kindergarten and then just cross their fingers, I guess, hoping no hearing problems develop later in a child's school career.

So, that was all the health screenings. Mostly pointless.

And then Andrew got to argue with them over vaccines.

Let me be clear: our children are fully vaccinated.

"Every state is different," I've been told (over and over again yesterday), but not wildly different (from my experience), and also I can read a vaccine schedule. And I can read immunization forms (from multiple states and/or countries!). So I was 100% certain that my children were up to date on all necessary vaccinations—even in Georgia.

But the nurse we saw at the county health clinic wanted to give Benjamin and Zoë a Dtap booster, I think. I can't even remember now. Andrew said Dtap in his text, so probably that's what it was. And it's true that they need to get one before entering middle school. Which neither one of them is doing next year, so Andrew brought that up with the nurse, who brought it up with another nurse, and then they pulled their supervisor in and she sided with Andrew. So in the end Miriam was given permission to get that booster later on this year (prior to entering middle school, and, you know, after our insurance kicks in) and Benjamin was given the next four years to get his shot.

So all's well that ends well, I suppose. But, like, what a bunch of hoopla. 


  1. I am glad it ended well. Now on to the next battle, whatever it may be.

  2. This makes me so mad on your behalf! I hope you never have to do that ever again. It sounds awful.

  3. Oh, and also, you are literate and educated with a spouse to help you out and you're both pretty with-it and savvy and it seems to have taken all of both of your faculties to figure this all out and get it done. What about people who are none or only some of those things?? I guess their kids just don't get to go to school? Or they pay hundreds of dollars they don't have? UGH. IT'S SO INFURIATING.

  4. Yes! That is what I said in the email I sent to my state representatives! It really doesn't need to be this difficult.