Brief

School-Based Health Centers: Critical to Health Reform and Improved Outcomes for Students

Background

Connecticut is transforming care delivery statewide by creating sustainable, effective linkages between clinical and community settings to improve access to preventive and chronic care services. Positioned within school settings, and with primary and behavioral health services co-located, school-based health centers (SBHCs) help students overcome barriers to accessing care. Connecticut has made a wise investment in and commitment to the health of children and adolescents through state funding for SBHCs. This funding is critical to supporting operations of SBHC sites. This issue brief makes recommendations to further ensure SBHC sustainability — through three primary mechanisms — in an era of state health reform.

KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR ADVOCATES AND POLICYMAKERS

  1. Integrate SBHCs into health care system redesign efforts. SBHCs need to develop strong partnerships to align with health
    reform goals — including encouraging state Medicaid officials and other leaders of health reform efforts to take steps to ensure that SBHCs are included as valued partners.
  2. Improve data. SBHCs need to invest in their data systems and technology infrastructure to demonstrate to decision-makers — including potential health system partners in their community — the value they bring to health reform.
  3. Invest in SBHC billing capacity. SBHCs need to invest in their capacity and infrastructure for billing and the Connecticut Medicaid program needs to continue efforts to develop more comprehensive billing and coding systems; both efforts will ensure SBHCs receive adequate recognition and reimbursement for the services they provide.