25% of all children have an undiagnosed vision problem significant enough to affect their performance in school (Children’s Vision Care in the 21st Century and Its Impact on Education – academic study).
“Good eyesight facilitates learning in school and development in general.” (Healthier Students are Better Learners – academic study)
A student who is low income and can’t read at grade-level by the third grade is 13 times less likely to graduate from high school (Education Week – academic study).
Senate Bill 187 Addresses an Unfunded Mandate
SB 187 is a follow up to House Bill 3000 passed in 2013, requiring all Oregon students to provide proof of a vision screening or eye exam prior to starting school.
Treatment can dramatically improve student outcomes and positively affect high school graduation rates.
HB 3000 sparked a public-private partnership, with schools providing logistical support and the State partnering with private non-profit entities to provide necessary equipment, staff, training, and resources such as funding.
The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation (OLSHF) has held up their end, now screening 180,000 Oregon students with high quality, free vision screening in a school setting, an increase of 720% since 2013.
SB 187 would allow every Oregon school district to access funds for vision screening. Public funding would be used effectively and efficiently. (OLSHF cost of $3.75 per student, compared to average $27 CPT insurance cost.)
SB 187 would provide funding to strengthen resource and referral systems with eye doctors in local communities to facilitate follow-up and ongoing eye health for children and their families.
How Much Does It Cost and What Are We Paying For?
For decades, Oregon has recognized the importance of preventing, identifying, and managing health conditions such as vision loss. OAR 581-022-0705 mandates school districts are responsible for vision screening programs and HB 3000 requires schools to obtain proof of vision screening or exam.
With approximately 400,000 students in grades K-8, 25% of whom have an undiagnosed vision condition, and limited resources for schools, Oregon cannot afford outdated, slow, and labor intensive vision screening methods.
In 2010, the Oregon Department of Education was directed to fund an Oregon Vision Screening Pilot Project to analyze the resources and delivery methods of vision screening programs throughout the state. At that time, the project found the average cost of a vision screening was $10.58 per student.
Since then, technological advances in vision screening devices has allowed for fast, objective checks for multiple potential conditions. HIPAA and FERPA compliant digital data collection and reporting of results means students’ information is secure and delivered in a timely basis.
A YES VOTE for SB 187 will allocate $3,000,000 biennially to reimburse schools for the costs of vision screenings and would provide sufficient support to expand programs to cover every school district and every student in Oregon.