Sarbanes Leads House in Passing Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen School-Based Health Centers

The School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act, Authored by Congressman Sarbanes, Would Help Deliver Quality, Low-Cost Health Care to Students Across America
September 29, 2020
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today led the U.S. House of Representatives in passing the School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2075), a bipartisan bill he authored to extend federal support to SBHCs through 2025 and help deliver primary care, dental screenings and mental health services to millions of American students in low-income and underserved communities.

“Across the country, millions of students and families rely on School-Based Health Centers to receive affordable health care and vital preventative services,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Our bipartisan effort to support and enhance SBHCs nationwide will help keep our children safe and healthy – especially during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.”

For many years, Congressman Sarbanes has led the effort in Congress to boost and strengthen SBHCs. This year, he secured $10 million in dedicated funding for SBHCs.

Before voting to pass the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act today, Congressman Sarbanes delivered remarks on the House floor in support of the bill. See below for a video and a transcript of the Congressman’s remarks.

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“Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. And I want to thank Chairman Pallone for his leadership of our committee with respect to all of these bills, particularly the health bills that we’re talking about today. And to Ranking Member Walden.

“As you know, many of these are bipartisan – they reflect the input and work of Members over a period of years.

“I’m very pleased that H.R. 2075, the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act, is on the floor today. I introduced this bill with our colleagues Representatives Stefanik, Tonko and Upton. I want to thank them for their work and the bipartisan dimension of this effort.

“This would reauthorize, as was indicated, federal support for school-based health centers through 2025. These are institutions that provide critical primary and mental health services to vulnerable children and youth.

“Institutions may not be the best word – teams of professionals, I think, is how you describe these School-Based Health Centers across the country. And they really marshal response to the needs of young people in schools in a way that you really can’t replicate anywhere else in the community – that’s why they’re so vital. They offer comprehensive health care to youth, delivering it in a setting where they already spend obviously much of their time – in a sense, a captive audience. Let’s take advantage of that and provide the services that they need.

“There are 80 School-Based Health Centers in the state of Maryland – I’m familiar with many of them, having visited a number – and over 2,500 of them nationwide that serve 6.3 million students.

“Many of these School-Based Health Centers provide care to underserved communities. In fact, over a third of them are located in rural areas.

“What the research shows us is that when a student has access to a School-Based Health Center, we see a decrease in negative outcomes such as asthma, morbidity and the rate of hospital admissions, while educational outcomes, such as school performance and graduation rates, increase.

“And now, of course, the services that School-Based Health Centers provide are needed more than ever, given the coronavirus pandemic. Young people are grappling with uncertainty and changes to their lives and being able to receive care in a familiar and supportive setting is critically important.

“So again, I thank my colleagues for their support of this, and I urge all of the Members to support this bill. And I yield back my time.”

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See here for bill text.

For more information about SBHCs, see here and here.