The SBHC Model
Healthy kids learn better. School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) ensure that kids can get the care they need, without missing class time.
SBHCs are a unique health care model for comprehensive physical, mental and preventive health services provided to youth and adolescents either within a school or on school property. With easy access to health care in a school setting, SBHCs reduce barriers such as cost, transportation, and concerns surrounding confidentiality that often keep children and youth from seeking the health services they need. SBHCs provide a full range of physical, mental and preventative health services to all students, regardless of their ability to pay.
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 kids 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 and succeed through unique public-private partnerships between the Oregon Public Health Division, school districts, county public health departments, public and private practitioners, tribes, 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-center care services 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, immigration status, sexual orientation, handicap, or gender. Reasonable accommodations are made to provide confidential services to non-English speaking students. 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 blood pressure screenings;
- Vaccination administration;
- Alcohol and drug treatment and prevention;
- Preventive health and wellness messaging delivery;
- Counseling and referral for mental health concerns;
- Reproductive health service provision;
- 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 kids 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 a sick student to the doctor. SBHCs provide accessible, comprehensive, and confidential health care services to Oregon youth through public and private partnerships (e.g. schools, health departments, tribes, community providers, hospitals).