WCPSS and nursing agency at odds over who is at fault in controversial change

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ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
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Wake parents of special-needs students want answers from WCPSS on nursing policy change.

CARY, NC (WTVD) -- We went searching for answers for Wake County parents concerned about a school district decision that disallowed them from choosing their family-preferred nurses to care for their severely medically-challenged children at school.

But WCPSS and the health-care agency in question are at odds about how the problem began.

"We want to keep the nurses that know our kids," Deborrah Murray told ABC11 at Tuesday night's school board meeting where she and four other families pleaded with the board to reevaluate a decision on nurses for their children who are all battling different but significant medical challenges.

One mother, Jenny Wade, spoke to ABC11 by telephone from her child's hospital room. Her 13-year-old son, Austin, is suffering complications from his lifelong struggle with a severe brain injury suffered as a newborn.

Like many of the families at Tuesday's school board meeting, Austin uses a nurse at school from Bayada Pediatrics health care services.

Wade said she was stunned when she got a letter from the school system this spring saying Bayada had not been selected as a contractor for the upcoming school year.

"When you have a company that gets to know your kid, it takes a lot of time when they have high medical needs," Wade said. "It's not like a piece of equipment that you can change out."

WCPSS told ABC11 that health-care vendors were selected through its standard request for proposals process, or RFP.

It's a common practice of soliciting bids aimed at eliminating corruption or favoritism.

The district said 13 nursing agencies submitted proposals. Two were selected. Eleven were rejected for not meeting the criteria.

But the district said Bayada, the agency these families know and trust, did not submit a proposal at all.

"No, it's not true," said Bayada Division Director Robin McCarson.

McCarson suggested that the district is being misleading. Bayada blamed technical glitches with the district's RFP website.

"We attempted to send in our bid on March 7 and when we sent it, it kept saying 'technical problems.' It was saying, 'bid open,' which led you to believe that the bidding process was still open. But it wasn't accepting our RFP," McCarson said. "And when we were finally able to get in touch with a person, they told us the RFP was closed."

After submitting a Public Records Request, ABC11 received all 13 proposals submitted to WCPSS.

There was no submission from Bayada.

WCPSS said it's unaware of any technical glitches with its site.

"(WCPSS) is sensitive to the needs of these families," said district spokesperson Lisa Luten. "We are exploring possibilities."