U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) yesterday introduced the bipartisan School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act which would reauthorize funding for school-based health centers through 2023.
In Michigan, there are more than 120 school-based health centers that play a major role in providing basic health services for thousands of students who have limited access to medical care outside of school.
Typically, a school-based health center provides a combination of primary care, mental health care, substance abuse counseling, case management, dental health, nutrition education, health education and health promotion activities.
“Too many children across our state do not have access to a family doctor and depend on school-based health centers for basic care,” said Senator Stabenow. “This is an important step toward making sure children across Michigan continue to receive the care they need throughout the school day.”
“School-based health centers provide important services that many children in West Virginia and across the country rely on—especially those living in rural communities,” Senator Capito said. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce this legislation to reauthorize these centers so we can ensure our children have access to basic health services that will go a long way in supporting their health and wellbeing.”
“The reauthorization of school-based health centers is a step forward to ensuring that ALL children and youth thrive. At the heart of the SBHC model is the incontestable fact that healthy students are better learners. SBHCs deliver high-quality primary and mental health care services in a location that’s safe, convenient, and accessible,” said John Schlitt, president of the School-Based Health Alliance. “Our communities need powerful, evidence-based interventions like SBHCs to address the root causes of chronic absenteeism, academic failure, conduct disorder, and civic disengagement.”
“On behalf of Michigan’s school based health centers and its children and adolescents, we are excited that Senator Stabenow is introducing the school based health center reauthorization bill which will help to ensure that all of Michigan’s children and adolescents have access to and receive high quality primary care and other services including mental health and substance abuse services,” said Deb Brinson, Executive Director of the School Community Health Alliance of Michigan. “Michigan is a leader in the SBHC movement and has long worked collaboratively with schools to ensure its students are healthy and ready to learn. We thank Senator Stabenow for her leadership on this bill.”
Senator Stabenow is a longtime champion for School-Based Health Centers, creating the School-Based Health Center Capital Program as part of the Affordable Care Act to help centers access critical funding for construction, renovation and equipment needs.
The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the School-Based Health Center Capital Program.