The SBHC Model
School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) are a vital community tool with a youth-centered model that supports young people’s health and well-being. Oregon SBHCs are in schools or on school grounds and provide medical care, behavioral health services and, often, dental services. Because of these easily accessible services, school-aged youth have an equal opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.
SBHCs are medical clinics that offer a full range of physical, behavioral and preventive health services. SBHCs offer services to all students in a
convenient and youth-centered environment, regardless of ability to pay. SBHCs provide easy access to health care. SBHCs reduce barriers such as cost, transportation and concerns about confidentiality that keep
parents and students from seeking the health services students need.
Each SBHC is staffed by a primary care professional who may be a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, other medical or mental health professionals and support staff, such as a receptionist. The centers are comfortable and accessible to encourage youth to either make an appointment to come in or to drop by when they need medical attention and/or want to learn more about health issues.
SBHCs have existed in Oregon since 1986. They succeed through public-private partnerships among the Oregon Public Health Division, school districts, local public health authorities, health care providers, parents, students, and community members.
Goals of SBHCs
- Improve access to affordable quality primary care and mental health services for school-aged youth
- Provide patient-centered care for all students, regardless of insurance status
- Reduce costs related to unnecessary hospital stays and use of emergency rooms
- Improve educational outcomes because healthy kids learn better
- Save parents time by reducing missed work hours
Services are available to students regardless of their ability to pay, insurance status, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity and/or gender expression/presentation, immigration status, sexual orientation, disability or marital status. In some instances, centers provide services to siblings, families, and community members as well.
- Routine physicals, well-child exams, and sports exams;
- Diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses;
- Treatment of minor injuries/illnesses;
- Vision, dental and other health screenings;
- Alcohol and drug counseling and prevention;
- Preventive health and wellness messaging delivery;
- Mental health counseling;
- Reproductive health services;
- Health and wellness classroom education;
- Medication prescription;
- Help students find social supports.
Why SBHCs Work
SBHCs are located on school grounds and are open and operating when youth are in school. As a result, students are back in class faster than if they had sought health care in a non-SBHC setting. Additionally, parents do not need to take time off work in order to transport their child to the doctor.