Cost-Savings of School-Based Health Center

Research and evaluations have demonstrated that school-based health centers represent cost-effective investments of public resources:

  • A study by Johns Hopkins University found that school-based health centers reduced inappropriate emergency room use, increased use of primary care, and resulted in fewer hospitalizations among regular users.1
  • A study of Medicaid-enrolled children served by a SBHC in Atlanta, Georgia found significantly lower inpatient, nonemergency department transportation, drug, and emergency department Medicaid expenses as compared to children without a SBHC. In 1996 the total yearly expense per individual for the SBHC was $898.98, as compared to $2360.46 for individuals without a SBHC.2
  • The number of hospitalizations and emergency department visits decreased for children with SBHCs in Cincinnati schools (2.4-fold and 33.5% respectively) – with an estimated savings of nearly $1,000 per child.3
  • Students in New York City schools with SBHCs were less likely to have been hospitalized for asthma at least once in the past year (10.5%) compared to those in schools without SBHCs (17.1%).4
  • In South Carolina, prevention-oriented health care provided in a SBHCdecreased emergency department visit rates by 41% to 57% — 18% greater than the decrease in students who did not use the SBHC.5
  • Adolescents with access to SBHCs in Denver had 38% – 55% fewer after-hours care (emergent or urgent) visits than those without school-based health center access.6
  • Students in Ohio who used an SBHC reported more positive self-perceptions of their health, which correlated with lower Medicaid costs. SBHC patients cost Medicaid an average of $30.40 less than comparable, non-SBHC patients.7
  • A study that explored the cost-benefit of a nationwide SBHC program to manage childhood asthma estimated total savings for opportunity costs of work loss and premature death at $23.13 billion.8

1. Santelli J, Kouzis A, Newcomer S. School-Based Health Centers and Adolescent Use of Primary Care and Hospital Care. Journal of Adolescent Health. 1996;19:267-275.
2. Adams EK, Johnson V. An Elementary School-Based Health Clinic: Can it Reduce Medicaid Costs? Pediatrics. Apr 2000;105(4 Pt 1):780-788.
3. Guo JJ, Jang R, Keller KN, McCracken AL, Pan W, Cluxton RJ. Impact of School-Based Health Centers on Children with Asthma. Journal of Adolescent Health. Oct 2005;37(4):266-274.
4. Webber MP, Carpiniello KE, Oruwariye T, Lo Y, Burton WB, Appel DK. Burden of Asthma in Inner-City Elementary Schoolchildren: Do School-Based Health Centers Make a Difference? Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine. Feb 2003;157(2):125-129.
5. Key JD, Washington EC, Hulsey TC. Reduced Emergency Department Utilization Associated with School-Based Clinic Enrollment. Journal of Adolescent Health. Apr 2002;30(4):273-278.
6. Kaplan D, Calonge B, Guernsey B, Hanrahan M. Managed Care and School-based Health Centers: Use of Health Services. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 1998;152:25-33.
7. Wade TJ, Guo JJ. Linking Improvements in Health-Related Quality of Life to Reductions in Medicaid Costs Among Students Who Use School-Based Health Centers. American journal of public health. Sep 2010;100(9):1611-1616.
8. Tai T, Bame SI. Cost-Benefit Analysis of Childhood Asthma Management Through School-Based Clinic Programs. J Community Health. Apr 2011;36(2):253-260.

Become a Member

Regular member communications, advocacy updates, alerts & webinars are only some of what you receive as a NYSBHA member

Join Now


Your donation plays an essential role in the Alliance’s ability to achieve its vision of "Healthy Children, Healthy Teens, and Healthy Schools."


Contact Us

Get in touch with NYSBHA

Contact Us Now