School clinics can now become medical homes 
Caroline Lewis
Health Pulse, Crain’s New York

School-based health centers can now apply for designation as school-based medical homes through the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The new standards to achieve that status were developed locally by the Montefiore School Health Program, the Primary Care Development Corp. and the New York School–Based Health Alliance.
In order to get qualified as a school-based medical home, centers will have to engage in care coordination, data collection and quality improvement initiatives.
The designation may help centers attract more funding, said Margaret Rogers, director of primary health care at the Montefiore School Health Program, which runs 25 school-based health centers.
“There’s still an invisibility about school-based health centers and my hope is that having national quality standards will help us increase our visibility and ability to advocate for the model,” Rogers said.
The state Medicaid program also offers enhanced reimbursement rates for patient-centered medical homes recognized by NCQA.
Rogers began looking to develop medical home standards specific to school-based clinics when she realized they didn’t easily fit into NCQA’s patient-centered medical home model. That’s partly because school-based health centers are the primary care providers for many students, but not necessarily for a majority of those they serve, she said. The Altman Foundation and state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried provided funding for pilots that took place at schools in the city and upstate; the model was also tested in Connecticut.
Adopting the model will likely prove challenging for many school-based health centers in New York, especially since the state cut their budget by 20% last year, said Sarah Murphy, executive director of the New York School–Based Health Alliance. —C.L.