P.O. BOX 2120




July 19, 2002



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



FAMIS (Family Access to Medical Insurance Security Plan)


Governor Warner and his administration are committed to obtaining medical care for all Virginia children by increasing enrollment in the Virginia Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) program. The Department of Education (DOE) has formed a partnership with the Department of Medical Assistances Services (DMAS), the state agency with primary administrative responsibility for childrens health insurance programs, to support the governors initiatives. Public schools have been identified as a valuable resource for school-based outreach and for providing information to parents about the value of health insurance programs.


Access to health insurance is a fundamental first step in ensuring that children receive the preventive and the medical care they need. As educators, we know that children must be healthy when they come to school in order to be ready to learn.


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) selected Virginia as one of five states to participate in a project called Building Bridges to Healthy Kids and Better Students. This project, funded by the Lucille Packard Foundation, provides training and resources for a statewide project to build an infrastructure to support childrens access to health insurance. The Virginia project will work to ensure FAMIS is integrated with the National School

Lunch Programs and that enrollment information is available in every public school in Virginia.


We urge all school personnel to assist in this important venture. The support of the local school divisions is crucial to the outreach efforts.


We ask that the school divisions school nurse coordinator/contact serve as the contact person for school- level child health insurance outreach and coordination.


Informational materials about the Child Health Insurance Programs will be sent to schools for local outreach efforts. Additionally, community based outreach organizations may contact school divisions directly to develop partnerships in this effort.


Please use these materials to The Commonwealth will be asking public schools to share information with parents regarding the availability of low-cost health insurance through FAMIS, or the availability of health services through Medicaid. We are asking schools to provide information to parents through a variety of mechanisms (e.g., back-to-school packets for Title I schools, Page 2:Supts Memo #___schools, with school nutrition program approval letters notifying parents of the approval of free or reduced meal benefits, with report cards, etc.)). . In addition, we are asking that school nurse coordinators/contacts serve as the local contact person for this initiative. The attached table presents the recommended activities and the anticipated dates.

Chapter 329, 2002 Acts of Assembly, (House Bill 1062) requires the DMAS to enter into an agreement with the Department of Education for the purpose of using the information about a students eligibility for free or reduced price meals to determine which children may be eligible for the FAMIS program Access to health insurance is a fundamental first step in ensuring that children receive preventive and acute medical care they need. As educators, we know that children must be healthy when they come to school in order to be ready to learn..


Regulatory Superintendents Memo #3, dated June 1, 2001, describes the details and requirements for sharing this confidential information. This memo can be found at /administrators/superintendents_memos/2001/reg003.html

A written memorandum of understanding (MOU) is required between the officials who determine eligibility and the Child Health Insurance coordinator. DOE School Nutrition Programs, has provided a Prototype Memorandum of


Understanding to all school nutrition directors for this purpose.


Thank you for your assistance in this very important initiative to improve the health of Virginias children. If you have any questions please contact Gwen P. Smith school health specialist, at (804) 786-8671 or or Catherine Digilio Grimes, director of School Nutrition Programs, at (804) 225-2074 or