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Susanne Smith, (503) 947-5637

May 12, 2009

Castillo Applauds Kaiser Permanente commitment to Multnomah county students

Statement by State School Superintendent Susan Castillo regarding Kaiser Permanente's announcement to provide free health insurance to K-6 Multnomah County public school students:

"Students face barriers to learning when they are sick or hurting. We know there is a direct connection between a student’s physical health and their academic success. Unfortunately, too many Oregon students do not have access to basic health services and struggle through the school day with ailments that could easily be treated by a quick trip to the doctor’s office.

"I want to commend Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to provide free health insurance to Portland K-6 children attending Multnomah County public schools. It is so important in these economically challenging times that community partnerships like the Kaiser Permanente and Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) partnership are there to support our students who need it the most.

"The insurance is free - there is no premium, but families must pay a small co-pay for office visits and prescriptions. Once enrolled, students and their siblings (age 3 or older) are covered through age 19 if they remain in school.

"Kaiser offers the insurance as part of its community benefit program which, among other goals, seeks to expand access to medical care for the uninsured. About 4,000 children already are covered through this no-premium plan; Kaiser and MESD want to double enrollment by the end of the year. For questions about the Kaiser Permanente free health insurance program, or to enroll, contact MESD at 503-277-1732 or speterso@mesd.k12.or.us eMail.

"Thank you to Kaiser Permanente and Multnomah Education Service District for all you do to keep our students healthy and learning."

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Morgan Allen, Communications & Legislative Director, Telephone (503) 947-5737

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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