Sarbanes Leads Introduction of Bipartisan Bill to Bolster Support for School-Based Health Centers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in introducing the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) program through 2024 and provide SBHCs with the federal support they need to continue delivering valuable, low-cost health care to students across the country.
Primarily serving students in low-income communities, SBHCs play a critical role in offering primary care services, including dental screenings and mental health services. More than 2,000 SBHCs – including 80 centers in Maryland and over 660 centers located in rural communities – provide health care services to more than two million students nationwide.
“This bipartisan federal investment will play an important role in improving health outcomes and academic success for children across America,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “By strengthening our national commitment to School-Based Health Centers, we can ensure that children in every community have access to affordable primary care.”
“Proper health care is essential for a student’s academic success,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Regardless of the community they live in, students of all backgrounds deserve access to affordable primary health care. The SBHC program is a critical resource that ensures each student has a chance to succeed and make a difference in this world. I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan, life-saving bill.”
“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. “As we work to confront 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 and throughout the country.”
“SBHCs serve an important role in underserved communities in Michigan and around the United States, offering primary care services as well as mental health services and dental care,” said Congressman Upton. “Just last month I met with students and staff at a school-based health center in my district and heard moving stories about the positive impact the center has had on their lives. I am proud to support this reauthorization as we work to keep our children healthy and help all students succeed.”
“The reauthorization of school-based health centers is a step forward to ensuring that all children and youth thrive,” said John Schlitt, President of the School-Based Health Alliance. “At the heart of the SBHC model is the incontestable fact that healthy students are better learners. SBHCs deliver high-quality primary and mental health care services in a location that’s safe, convenient, and accessible. Our communities need powerful, evidence-based interventions like SBHCs to address the root causes of chronic absenteeism, academic failure, conduct disorder and civic disengagement.”
For more information about the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act, see here.