Sarbanes Bill to Enhance School-Based Health Centers Passes House Energy and Commerce Committee [Video]

Bipartisan Legislation Would Provide Federal Support to School-Based Health Centers Through 2024
September 9, 2020
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) led committee members in passing the bipartisan School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 2075).

The bill would extend federal support to SBHCs through 2024, helping deliver primary care – including dental screenings and mental health services – to millions of American students.

“There are 80 school-based health centers located in the state of Maryland,” said Congressman Sarbanes, a longtime advocate for SBHCs who authored the bill and who secured $10 million for SBHCs earlier this year. “There’s over 2,500 of these across the country. I’m sure every member of the committee … has one or more of these school-based health centers located in their district, serving over 6.3 million students. And many of these are in underserved communities and about a third of them are in rural areas, so very important coverage across all parts of the nation.”

Sarbanes continued: “Where you see the access to school-based health centers, you also see that negative health outcomes decrease – asthma morbidity and the rate of hospital admissions, for example. And you see positive outcomes increase – so educational outcomes, school performance, graduation rates. So, providing these health resources very much goes hand-in-hand with maximizing the educational opportunities that are available to our young people.”

Sarbanes concluded: “It's hard to imagine a more timely occasion for reauthorizing school-based health centers than the one we're in right now, which is the coronavirus pandemic. We know, obviously, with the back-to-school situation happening right now, that schools are on the front line in terms of managing the pandemic. School-based health centers are going to be right at the center of that response, and I think this is exactly the right moment to be doing this reauthorization.”

See below for the Congressman’s full remarks.