School-based health centers make it convenient for students to leave class and walk down the hall for therapy, a medical checkup, or a dental appointment.
Many school districts are trying to address that problem by putting more counselors, nurses, and social workers in schools with their share of federal COVID funds, according to a Chalkbeat analysis of spending plans. Adding new school-based health centers would make those efforts more effective, experts say, because the centers are better equipped to assist with the most complex cases, freeing up school staff to handle other needs.
What is a school-based health center?

The centers are formed under an agreement between local health care providers, such as a hospital system, a school district, and the state. All three parties share the costs.

Unlike a typical school nurse’s office, the centers are recognized by the government as health care providers, which means they can more easily provide referrals for care, and they can bill for services if students have insurance.

The school provides office space — often rent free — while the health care system provides medical workers such as licensed therapists and nurse practitioners. In some cases, a school nurse will share the space with health system employees.

If students have health insurance, the center can bill their insurer. If not, grants from the state help cover the cost of care, or the center can bill Medicaid. Students never have to pay out of pocket.

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Written by: Koby Levin, Chalkbeat Detroit
April 11, 2022