The Affordable Care Act and the School-Based Health Center Capital Program

Overview of School-Based Health Centers

School-based health centers (SBHC) not only enable children with acute or chronic illnesses to attend school, but also improve students’ overall health and wellness through health screenings, health promotion, and disease prevention activities.  According to the 2007-2008 survey conducted by the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, there are an estimated 1,910 SBHCs nationwide.  Although various service models exist, the typical SBHC is open every school day and staffed by a team of health providers who work closely with the school health and other community service providers. 

  • A SBHC is often operated as a partnership between the school and a community health organization, such as a community health center, hospital, or local health department that serves as the sponsoring facility for the SBHC. 
  • Services provided by the SBHC are determined locally through a collaborative approach between the families and students, the community, the school district, and associated health providers. 
  • Typically, a SBHC provides a combination of primary care, mental health care, substance abuse counseling, case management, dental health, nutrition education, health education and health promotion.  An overall emphasis is placed on the services being age appropriate, with a particular focus on prevention and early intervention.

The Affordable Care Act and SBHCs

The Affordable Care Act provides $200 million in funding from 2010 – 2013 to address significant and pressing capital needs to improve delivery and support expansion of services at SBHCs.

In FY 2011, $95 million was awarded under the School-Based Health Center Capital Program to 278 school-based health center programs to:

  • Create new school-based health center sites; and
  • Expand preventive and primary health care services at existing school-based health center sites.

The recipients of the FY 2011 funding were serving approximately 790,000 patients and expect to develop the capacity to serve an additional 440,000 through the use of the SBHC funding.

In FY 2012, funding totals $14.5 million and is targeted for an additional 45 school-based health center programs. This funding will continue to expand preventive and primary health care services in medically underserved areas by building new facilities and modernizing current sites. 

The SBHCC funds appropriated for FY 2012 that have not been awarded will be used for a new competitive funding opportunity for school-based health centers to be announced in the spring. Awards will be made in FY 2013.

For a list of the grantees announced in FY 2012, visit: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/12/20111208a_grantees.html

For School-Based Health Center Program grantees across the country, visit: http://www.hrsa.gov/ourstories/schoolhealthcenters/

Posted on: December 8, 2011