Sarbanes Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize School-Based Health Centers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined Congressmen John Faso (R-N.Y.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to introduce a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) program through 2023.
SBHCs primarily operate in underserved communities and play a critical role in providing students with primary care, including dental screenings and mental health services. Across the country, more than 2,000 SBHCs – one-third of which are located in rural communities serve over two million students.
“Thousands of children across the country depend on school-based health centers to deliver primary care, mental health services and dental treatment,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This bipartisan effort will ensure that school-based health centers have the resources they need to keep our children healthy and help them succeed in the classroom.”
“New York has the largest statewide network of SBHCs in the country and they are increasingly important in rural Upstate communities,” said Congressman Faso. “These health providers fill geographic service gaps and ensure that students are receiving necessary care, such as preventative check-ups, dental services, and mental health services. I am glad we have a bipartisan coalition that recognizes the importance of SBHCs. This reauthorization is long overdue.”
“School-based health centers are a critical source of healthcare for students including those struggling with mental health challenges or substance use disorders,” said Congressman Tonko. “In the midst of our nation’s opioid epidemic, these centers have become even more important, especially in communities where there is limited access to substance use and mental health care. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in a bipartisan basis to support this important measure that serves students and families across Upstate New York.”
"My home state of Michigan has 121 school-based health centers,” said Congressman Upton. “These health care providers fill a critical need for our kids including mental health services. I’m glad to join this bipartisan coalition supporting this reauthorization to ensure school-based health centers continue to help our kids succeed in every facet of life."
“The reauthorization of school-based health centers is a critical step forward for children. At the heart of the SBHC model is the incontestable fact that healthy students are better learners. SBHCs represent a key strategy for ensuring our children and adolescents receive 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. “In this critical time, SBHCs are also meeting the increased mental health needs of the lesser known victims of the national opioid epidemic – children who are affected by their parents’ or families’ struggles with addiction.”