Background: Despite extensive literature on school-based health center (SBHC) characteristics and outcomes, their quality of care has not been examined nationally. Standardized quality metrics can inform health care delivery and improvement.

Methods: SBHC national performance measures (NPMs) were developed by reviewing measures from national child health quality initiatives and engaging stakeholders in a consensus-building process. NPMs were pilot-tested with 73 SBHCs and SBHCs nationally subsequently reported data.

Results: Five NPMs were selected including the percentage of clients annually who received at least one: (1) well-child visit, whether administered in the SBHC or elsewhere; (2) risk assessment; (3) body mass index screen with nutrition and physical activity counseling; and, if age-appropriate, (4) depression screening with follow-up treatment plan; and (5) chlamydia screening among sexually active clients. SBHCs experienced challenges with reporting during pilot-testing, particularly related to extracting data from electronic health records, and identified strategies to address challenges. Approximately 20% of SBHCs nationally voluntarily reported data during the initial year.

Implications for school health: Standardized performance measures can help SBHCs monitor and improve care delivery and demonstrate effectiveness compared to other child health delivery systems.

Conclusion: Ongoing data collection will help examine whether measure adoption drives quality improvement for SBHCs nationwide.

Keywords: adolescents; children; health care performance; quality improvement; school-based health centers.

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