Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 14 to announce awards of $95 million to 278 school-based health center programs across the country. Provided by the Affordable Care Act, the awards will help clinics expand and provide more health care services at schools nationwide.
The awardees are currently serving approximately 790,000 patients. The awards will enable them to increase their capacity by over 50 percent, serving an additional 440,000 patients. School-based health centers improve the overall health and wellness of all children through health screenings, health promotion and disease prevention activities and enable children with acute or chronic illnesses to attend school.
“These new investments will help school-based health centers establish new sites or upgrade their current facilities to keep our children healthy,” said Secretary Sebelius. “These new or improved sites will help ensure effective, efficient, and high-quality care.”
“We know that if kids aren’t healthy then kids can’t learn,” said Secretary Duncan. “These grants will make it a lot easier for working moms and dads to help get their children the health care they need and deserve. This unprecedented investment in school-based health care will bring communities closer together and help children succeed in the classroom.”
The Affordable Care Act appropriated a total of $200 million for 2010 through 2013 for the School-Based Health Center Capital Program to address capital needs in school-based health centers. The funds are the first in the series of awards that will be made available to school-based health centers under the Affordable Care Act. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) oversees the program.
Eligible applicants were defined as a school-based health center or a sponsoring facility of a school-based health center as outlined in the Social Security Act. An objective review committee used the review criteria established in the grant guidance to assess and rank applications. Each reviewer on the objective review committee is screened to avoid conflicts of interest and is responsible for providing an objective, unbiased evaluation based on the review criteria.