Homebound and Hospital Service Procedures Overview
In accordance with the school board policy, Baldwin County Public Schools provides homebound services for those students who are not able to attend school for medical and/or mental health reasons that are acute, catastrophic, or chronic. If a student’s anticipated duration of absence from school exceeds 15 consecutive school days, the student will be eligible for services under the provisions of this policy.
These homebound procedures apply to all students who are not identified as eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For those students who are identified as eligible under the IDEA, homebound services and instruction will be determined by the student’s IEP team, and if deeded applicable, administered through the Baldwin County Board of Education’s Special Services Department.
(Note: The referral process for homebound services is to be initiated at the time it is determined that a student will miss 15 or more days of school—not after the student has already missed 15 or more school days.)
Eligibility for homebound services requires that written documentation from a physician or psychiatrist must be presented to Baldwin County Public Schools prior to consideration for services. In addition, a student may become eligible for homebound services based upon a finding by the appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Team.
Homebound services are for students currently enrolled in the Baldwin County Public School System who must be temporarily confined at home or in a health care facility. The purpose of homebound instruction is to help students keep up with their work although they are unable to attend school. However, homebound services are meant as a short-term intervention and do not in any way supplant attendance in a regular school for an extended period of time. The goal of homebound instruction is to sustain continuity of instruction and to facilitate the student returning to school. Homebound instruction is not a guarantee that the student will always progress in the academic program. Baldwin County Public Schools will provide homebound instruction to students with and without disabilities. The following guidelines should be noted for determining a student’s eligibility for homebound services.
Homebound Eligibility for All Students
1. The student must be enrolled in the Baldwin County Public School System and must reside in Baldwin County.
2. The documented medical condition must prevent the student from attending school for a period of fifteen (15) or more consecutive school days from the date of the written homebound recommendation.
3. A written recommendation for homebound services from the student’s treating physician, i.e., a licensed physician or licensed clinical psychologist must be submitted. Completion of the Treating Physician’s Recommendation for Homebound/Hospital Services form by the child’s treating physician is required.
4. Baldwin County Public Schools reserves the right to request an updated medical statement when deemed necessary. This statement may be requested when the homebound/hospital services need to be extended beyond the initially approved length of time.
5. The determination as to whether homebound services are warranted is a decision that is made by the homebound services team. In making this determination, full consideration will be given to the written recommendation received from the treating physician. However, a recommendation for homebound services by a treating physician does not guarantee homebound placement.
6. If a student suffers from an emotional or psychiatric disorder, and the attending physician or psychiatrist recommends homebound services, a treatment plan must accompany the Treating Physician’s Recommendation for Homebound/Hospital Services form. The treatment plan must outline the student’s mental health diagnosis, treatment history, current treatment, and a date for returning the student to school.
If the student requires an extension of homebound services, a mandatory review of the student’s mental health condition must be conducted in order to extend the homebound services. An updated Treating Physician’s Recommendation for Homebound/Hospital Services form must also be completed, along with an updated treatment plan. The referring licensed physician and/or licensed psychiatrist must be the treating physician or psychiatrist for the medical and/or psychiatric condition for which the student is requesting homebound services. Examples include the following:
A student with leukemia may not request homebound services with a medical statement from a pediatrician. A statement from the oncologist currently treating the student is required. A student with paranoid delusions may not request homebound services with a medical statement from a psychologist or pediatrician. The medical request must be from the licensed psychiatrist currently treating the student. If the student requires an extension of homebound services, a mandatory review of the student’s mental health condition must be conducted in order to extend the homebound services. An updated Treating Physician’s Recommendation for Homebound/hospital Services form must also be competed, along with an updated treatment plan.
7. The eligibility criteria for students who are pregnant are the same as for students who are not pregnant. The doctor must indicate the specific medical condition (outside of the student being pregnant) that necessitates the request for homebound services, i.e., requires continuous bed rest, at risk for premature delivery, etc. Although the medical condition necessitating services may be related to the students’ pregnancy, the pregnancy in and of itself does not constitute eligibility for homebound services.
8. Recovery from childbirth—in and of itself—is not considered a medical condition that meets eligibility for homebound services unless the student experiences medical complications. The eligibility criteria for participation in homebound services are the same for all students—whether they are pregnant, or not pregnant, or have given birth. Instead, once a pregnant student delivers her child, her absences from school are to be coded as excused for as long as the doctor says, which is typically for six weeks after delivery.
9. Homebound services are not to be granted for a teen parent simply because of lack of child care.
10. Homebound services are not to be granted for a teen parent simply because she is in her third trimester.
11. In order to evaluate the need for homebound instruction, the parent/guardian of the student requesting homebound services will be asked to grant Baldwin County Public Schools written permission to consult with the physician or psychiatrist. The exchange of information is essential in determining the initial eligibility and continued eligibility of the student in receiving homebound services. The Treating Physician’s Recommendation for Homebound/Hospital Services form contains a statement for the parent to sign granting Baldwin County Public Schools permission to consult with the appropriate medical professional. Only the original paperwork will be accepted as application for homebound/hospital services. An incomplete application may cause a delay in services.
12. A recommendation for homebound services by a treating physician does not guarantee homebound placement. The Treating Physician’s Recommendation for Homebound/Hospital Services form that is completed by a licensed physician or a licensed clinical psychologist merely represents student assessment data that is to be considered by the homebound services team when deciding whether or not the student meets eligibility criteria for homebound services. The homebound services team also has the right to request additional information regarding the educational implications of the students’ medical condition.
13. In most cases, homebound services should not be initiated during the moth of May, which is the final month of the school year. However, should there be a request for homebound services that occurs towards the end of April or the beginning of May, please make contact with the Intervention Supervisor’s office so that factual circumstances can be considered.
14. Add this sentence: For students who are currently identified as a student with a disability under Section 504, and are being recommended for placement in the homebound setting, the Section 504 team will adhere to the specified guidelines when the reasons for homebound consideration are based on a medical condition.
15. When a student is not currently identified as Section 504 eligible, the homebound services team will be tasked with making two decisions on an individual basis:
Is the student eligible to receive Section 504 services? Is the student eligible to receive homebound services?