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California Receives Over $1.6M to Fund School-Based Health Centers

ACA’s Investment in School-Based Health Centers

ACA allocated $200M in funding between 2010 and 2013 to improve delivery and support expansion of services at School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs). In 2011, $95M was awarded to 278 SBHCs that serve 790,000 patients. With the funding, these centers are expected to increase capacity to serve an additional 440,000.

Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced over $14M for 45 SBHCs in 29 states in 2012. The funding will help these centers expand capacity by 53,000 from the current 112,000.

California received more than $1.6M for four SBHCs, including

  • Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Los Angeles ($494,300);
  • Centro de Salud de la Comunidad, San Ysidro ($485,861);
  • Oakland Unified School District, Oakland ($423,098); and
  • Valley Community Clinic, North Hollywood ($261,436).

According to the California School Health Centers Association, the funds will be used for items such as new mobile medical vans, electronic health records, renovation and new portable buildings.

Click here for a full list of grantees.

Overview of SBHCs in California

School-Based Health Centers provide services such as primary care, mental health care, substance abuse counseling, case management, dental health, nutrition education, health education and health promotion to schoolchildren. They are generally open during the school day and operated by a team of health providers. SBHCs are usually partnerships between schools and community health organizations (community health center, hospital, or local health department) that sponsor the SBHC.

The California School Health Centers Association chart below indicates the types of services provided at California’s SBHCs.

SBHCs are funded through the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program, Family PACT, Healthy Families,  EPSDT contracts for mental health services, Medi-Cal, health plan reimbursements for out-of-network services, school district contributions or in-kind support of space/utilities/custodial services, sponsoring agency contributions or subsidies, and government/private grants.

As of September 2011, California has 183 SBHCs throughout the state with 42% in high schools, 32% in elementary schools, 12% in middle schools and 14% linked to a health center or operated by mobile medical vans. Most SBHCs are located in schools with the most vulnerable children – on campuses with SBHCs, 70% receive free or reduced priced meals.

The below map shows the distribution of SBHCs by county. Los Angeles tops the chart with 61 SBHCs.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of SBHCs

Studies have found that SBHCs are cost-effective investments. SBHCs have been found to:

  • Reduce inappropriate emergency room use, increase use of primary care, and result in fewer hospitalizations among regular users (Johns Hopkins University);
  • Reduce Medicaid expenditures related to inpatient, drug and emergency department use (Emory University School of Public Health);
  • Decrease total annual cost of hospitalizations by 85% for children in Cincinnati schools with SBHCs;
  • Halve emergency room visits for asthma for students in New York City schools with SBHCs;
  • Reduce by 4x likeliness of accessing urgent and emergent care among adolescents with Medicaid in Denver using SBHCs;
  • Decrease utilization of emergency departments by using prevention-oriented health care at SBHCs in South Carolina;
  • Save $3M in hospitalization inpatient costs for children with asthma in New York in 2004; and
  • Reduce after-hours care visit rate by 38-55% for adolescents with commercial managed care insurance and access to SBHCs in Denver.

SBHCs also connect students and families with health care programs through identifying and reaching out to uninsured students, referring families to enrollment assistors and connecting them to providers.

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