Health reform supporting school clinics

CORRECTION: The original script for this report misstated the amount of funding the new federal health care law provides for school-based health clinics. The amount is $200 million. The script has been corrected.


Bill Radke: A lot of young students in low-income neighborhoods have health problems that affect their ability to learn -- like poor vision, malnutrition, hyperactivity. So some of these communities are setting up health centers where kids spend a lot of their time: at school. And the new health care law provides more money for these school-based clinics. From our health desk at WHYY in Philadelphia, Gregory Warner reports.

Gregory Warner: Josh Chapman is a sophomore at Central High School in Kansas City, Mo.:

JOSH CHAPMAN: When I have migraines, I just kind of lay down in class and go to sleep a little bit.

When kids get sick in class they can't learn. And outside the school, they may not have access to good health care.

CAROLYN KRAMER: When you're in a school you can go to the school nurse and they say you need to go to the doctor. Soon as they leave that building, the chances of them getting to the doctor, like, plunge.

Carolyn Kramer runs a program in Seattle that brought medical clinics inside the high schools and middle schools. In the two years since the program started, she says, absenteeism is down. So are disciplinary problems.

There are now 2,000 school-based health centers across the country. The health care reform bill commits $200 million to the effort. Again, Carolyn Kramer.

KRAMER: If we can treat them in the school, and they can get the help right there and right away.

And it's not just kids getting care in the centers. Sometimes, it's parents too.

In Philadelphia, I'm Gregory Warner for Marketplace.

About the author

Gregory Warner is a senior reporter covering the economics and business of healthcare for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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Thanks for running this story. School Based Health Centers are the best thing since sliced bread. Students can get same day care; teachers get healthier students; parents trust school personnel. Win-Win all around!

Thank you for this story! I know of a high schooler who had diabetes but it was undiagnosed. He was doing poorly in school and falling asleep in class because he was getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (an indication of diabetes). He went to his school-based health center and finally got his diabetes diagnosed and treated. He became more engaged in school academically and socially -- and graduated high school. Imagine how many more success stories like these we could have if EVERY school had a school health center!

Thanks for the coverage of school-based health centers!
One correction: SBHCs did not receive half a billion dollars in funding through the health reform legislation. We received an emergency appropriation for $200 million over four years. For more information please visit the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care at www.nasbhc.org.

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