Bennet Fights to Improve Access, Availability of School-Based Health Care Services for Kids

On Tour of School-Based Community Health Center at Adams City Middle School, Bennet Announces Legislation to Boost Health Care for Colorado's Kids

Spotlights Leadership of Adams 14 in Delivery of Quality, Affordable Health Care for Children

Commerce City, CO - Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today announced his plan to introduce legislation that would make it easier for kids to receive quality, affordable health care at school. Colorado and the nation's School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) currently serve thousands of kids each year but face a number of barriers that shut them out of receiving critical reimbursement for the services they deliver. The SBHC's need these reimbursements to buy supplies, hire and maintain medical staff, and provide a wide range of health care services to students.

In an effort to ensure Colorado's SBHC's have the resources they need to continue serving kids, Bennet today said he is introducing a bill in the upcoming weeks with Senator Debbie Stabenow that would put a procedure in place for the health centers to be properly reimbursed by the federal government.

"Colorado's school based health centers work day in and day out to keep our kids healthy, in school and ready to learn. We should be making sure the centers have the resources they need to provide critical care to our kids," Bennet said. "We are not properly funding these centers yet we expect them to provide health care to nearly 200,000 kids across our state. This bill will provide school based health centers with the resources they need to continue their good work."

Colorado's School-Based Health Centers are partnerships between schools and community-based health organizations that bring high quality services directly into the school building. The SBHCs provide a wide range of health care services to kids who otherwise might not seek care, give uninsured and underinsured kids easier access to care, and help kids stay healthy so that all students have an equal chance of succeeding in school.

Medicaid and SCHIP programs are the largest source of non-grant funding for school-based health centers. Yet only one in four receive any reimbursement from SCHIP programs.

Bennet today said he and Stabenow will introduce the "Healthy Schools Act of 2009" to address the reimbursement problems. The legislation would:

  • Ensure federal government has a procedure in place to pay for services provided by school-based health centers.
  • Establish a certification procedure for States to certify to the Secretary that the State has implemented procedures to pay for SCHIP and Medicaid provided health care in a SBHC.
  • Establish minimum criteria for "primary health services" as the core group of services offered by a SBHC, including comprehensive health and mental health assessments, intervention and treatment, as well as oral health, social, and health education services.

Bennet's visit to Adams City Middle School comes on the heels of a call he made in a speech before the U.S. Senate to remake America's public schools into community centers where kids can receive the quality, affordable health care services they need to learn, grow and thrive.