Sarbanes Advances Bill to Support School-Based Health Centers [Video]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a House Health Subcommittee hearing today on efforts to reauthorize important public health programs, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) highlighted the School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) Reauthorization Act, a bill he authored to deliver primary care, including dental screenings and mental health services, to millions of American students.
“I have been working on the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act for a very long time and I'm very appreciative that it is a bipartisan bill,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “… It would authorize … federal support for school-based health centers … which provide critical primary and mental health services to vulnerable youth – certainly very important in this moment.”
Sarbanes continued: “I've seen it in Maryland for sure … if a student has access to School-Based Health Centers, the negative health outcomes – such as asthma, morbidity, rate of hospital admissions – those decreases while the educational outcomes, such as school performance and graduation rates, increase. And now, of course, the services of School-Based Health Centers are needed now more than ever given the coronavirus pandemic.”
See below for a video of the Congressman’s opening remarks.
During an exchange with Robert Boyd, President and CEO of the School-Based Health Alliance, Congressman Sarbanes also saluted the impactful work of SBHC health care providers.
“I can say – having visited many, many school-based health centers over the last few years, trying to understand all the dimensions in which they can provide support for children and families – that some of the most impressive practitioners and health professionals I’ve ever met are the people that staff these school-based health centers,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “The amount of support they give to the school, to the students, to the families and to the community really can’t be overstated, so you're representing a very proud and resourceful group of people, and we thank you [President Boyd] for being with us today.”
Sarbanes continued: “I kind of look at [SBHCs] as having two basic functions or opportunities. One is obviously to serve what is a captive audience, which are the children located in that school and to take full advantage of the fact that you have them there, or that you're connected to them, if we look at it now through the lens of the pandemic and what that’s doing to change the status quo. But the other is that through children who come to these School-Based Health Centers or are served by them, they act as a link to the families of those students and can help connect families to health care resources that are more broadly available. Sometimes that’s through actual partnerships with community health clinics, including federally qualified health centers. Other times, it's more through referral to other providers that are in the community.”
See below for the Congressman’s full remarks.
For more information about the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act, see here.