Schools across Colorado are letting out for the summer! Summer gives kids a chance to take a break from the daily rigors of education, but for many kids, a break from school may mean a break from their ability to see a doctor.
Across Colorado, 55 school based-health centers (SBHCs) are located on school grounds. SBHCs primarily serve students who do not have regular access to medical care. These clinics are staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of medical and behavioral health specialists. Services are designed to identify problems early, provide continuity of care, and improve academic participation.
A School's Solution
Laura explains the importance of the school based health centers (SBHCs) in Durango. She said, “we get this population that would normally not be reached. Being in the school, being accessible...really makes a big difference.” SBHCs know how to integrate care to make sure the students are healthy and aren’t held back by issues that may influence their ability to learn and grow. Staff work with kids not only on things like ear aches, strep throat and immunizations, but they look at other factors such as whether or not the student is getting enough to eat, or how they’re dealing with a divorce or other change in family life.
School-based health care is an effective strategy for reaching underserved students. Given this, the Colorado legislature added an additional $4.3 million dollars to the state’s budget this year for SBHC grants to support the development of SBHCs and/or the integration of mental or dental health services into existing centers.
By the Numbers
Approximately 217,000, (more than 1 in 6) Colorado children live in poverty*
9.7%, an estimated 125,000, of Colorado's children were uninsured in 2011**
Of children served by SBHCs, 45% are uninsured and 38% are enrolled in Medicaid or CHP+***
*Kids Count in Colorado 2013, Colorado Children’s Campaign
**2011 American Community Survey
***CHI analysis of data from 2008 Colorado Association of School Based Health Care and CHI Survey of School-Based Health Centers