Frequently Asked Questions
Must students be absent from school for three weeks before they can apply for HHB services?
No. The physician must indicate that the estimated duration of absence from school will be three weeks or more, but no prior absence is required. Districts are encouraged to be proactive in initiating procedures to establish eligibility for HHB services to avoid any interruption of the student’s education.
Is a pregnant student eligible for HHB services?
Possibly. Rule 6A-6.03020, FAC., does not address pregnancy, childbirth or recovery from childbirth. Pregnancy and recovery from childbirth, in and of themselves, are not considered medical conditions that meet eligibility for HHB services unless the student experiences medical complications that meet the criteria in rule. The eligibility criteria for participation in the HHB program are the same for all students, whether they are pregnant, or not pregnant, or have given birth.
Are students who have emotional problems eligible for HHB services?
Yes, if the emotional problems result in the student’s inability to attend school for the specified amount of time as stated in the State Board Rule. For a student who is being considered for HHB due to a psychiatric condition, the district may require that an evaluation be conducted by a psychiatrist. However, such an evaluation must be provided at no cost to the parent. A report by a psychologist or counselor does not qualify as a medical report. In this situation, the issue is not the type of physical or mental illness but whether it interferes with the student’s ability to attend school for an extended period.
Does the evaluation form signed by a licensed physician mandate service?
No. The evaluation by a licensed physician represents student assessment data to be considered by the staffing committee to determine whether to recommend eligibility for HHB services. The staffing committee may request additional information regarding the educational implications of the medical condition.
May an evaluation from a chiropractic physician be used to determine eligibility for the HHB program?
No. The physician must be a medical doctor or osteopathic physician licensed under Section 458 or 459, F.S.
If a student has related services identified on the IEP, must the related services be provided to the student while the student is on HHB?
Yes. A student who is served in the HHB program must be provided with related services if the following criteria are met:
- The student is determined to be a student with a disability eligible for such services
- The IEP team determines that these services are necessary to provide the student with an appropriate educational program
Is the IEP team required to include occupational therapy, physical therapy, or any other related service in the HHB student’s IEP if the parent requests it?
No. Related services are defined broadly under the IDEA and can include a variety of services, including transportation, developmental corrective, and other supportive services. To be included on the IEP, the team must determine that the student requires the services to benefit from special education.
May the IEP team revise the services identified on the initial HHB IEP?
Yes. The special education and related services identified on the IEP are what the student with a disability needs to access the general curriculum. If those needs change because of a change in educational placement, the IEP team is justified in changing the services. The IEP team may decide that the previously determined services are not appropriate due to the current medical condition.
What is the specified number of days a student must be expected to be absent to qualify for HHB services if a school uses a block schedule?
Districts will have to determine on a school-by-school basis what time period is equivalent to 15 school days.
Can instruction for a student who is served by the program for students who are homebound or hospitalized be provided in a setting other than the home or hospital?
Yes. There may be unique circumstances that dictate the need for instruction to occur outside the hospital or home setting. Decisions must be made on an individual basis. The recommendation should be included in the meeting notes.
Can a student receiving HHB services be enrolled in two districts at the same time?
Yes. A student may be enrolled in two districts at the same time. Students who are chronically or intermittently ill, whose health conditions necessitate frequent placement in HHB, may be alternately assigned to the school-based and the hospital/homebound program (even when these are located in different school districts) and move from one to the other as needed. These students do not have to be withdrawn and reenrolled each time they switch from one district to the other. Students are reported for FTE based on their enrollment during the survey week.
If a student remains on HHB from one year to the next, must a new eligibility staffing be held?
No. However, the HHB rule does require that a medical evaluation be provided annually. This information should be obtained in advance of the student’s annual review/IEP meeting.
May our program serve a prekindergarten child who has been admitted to the hospital?
Yes, only if the prekindergarten child has been determined to be eligible as a child with a disability and has an active IEP prior to needing HHB services.
If a student from out of state is admitted to a psychiatric facility in Florida, may this student be placed on HHB?
Yes. The student must be enrolled in a Florida public school first. The district may work with the psychiatric facility to help school enrollment of the student. However, if an out-of-state student has been placed in a facility by the local education agency in another state, then the student would not be enrolled in a Florida public school. The LEA in the other state would work with the facility to provide FAPE.
If a student who is identified as gifted becomes eligible for HHB services, does an IEP need to be developed?
Yes. Educational Plans (EP) may only be used for students who are considered “solely gifted” in accordance with Rule 6A-6.030191, FAC. Once eligible for HHB services, the student would be considered a student with a disability, and the district would be required to develop an IEP.
If a student who has a Progress Monitoring Plan (PMP) or a 504 plan becomes eligible for HHB services, does an IEP need to be developed?
Yes. The purpose of the PMP is to assist the student in meeting state and district expectations for proficiency for promotion in reading, writing, mathematics, and science. The purpose of a 504 plan is to provide accommodation within the general education environment to allow eligible students an equal opportunity to participate. A student may have both a PMP and a 504 plan. As noted above, the student would now be considered a student with a disability, and an IEP would need to be developed. The content of these plans should be considered in developing the IEP for HHB services.