Family health Network has operated four School Based Health Centers since 1989.
A School Based Health Center (SBHC) is like a doctor’s office inside a school. SBHCs are usually located in areas with limited access to health care services. SBHCs fulfill three functions in the school:
1. Primary care and preventive health services to students whose parents have completed an enrollment package for the center. These services include:
- Comprehensive physical examinations
- TB testing
- Screening, diagnosis, and treatment of medical conditions
2. First aid care to all pupils registered in the building.
3. Emergency care to anyone on school premises in need.
School-Based Health Centers are staffed, at a minimum, by a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and/or Physician’s Assistant (PA) and a Medical Assistant. A NP/PA can perform all the functions that a doctor in an office could, including diagnosing illness and prescribing medications. The Medical Assistant acts as an Aide to the NP/PA. Our SBHCs provide additional services such as mental health care, optometry services, and dental care. We often participate in the school’s health education programs. SBHCs also refer students to outside specialists when needed. Parents must sign up for students to receive services. The consent form to sign children up for SBHC services is available at the school.
The SBHC can serve as a student’s primary care provider or complement services provided by an outside primary care physician. It provides scheduled and walk-in services when school is in session and 24-hour telephone coverage to assist with problems that arise when it is closed. SBHCs can provide care only for students who are enrolled it is important for every student in the school to be registered at the SBHC.
School-Based Health Centers care for students without regard to insurance status. However, it is important for parents to provide medical insurance information to the SBHC when they enroll children this information helps the SBHC to bill insurance companies, such as Medicaid, for the care they provide, and if a child is not insured, the SBHC may be able to help the child and his or her family to obtain public health insurance. SBHCs do not bill students or parents for care, and providing them with insurance information will not affect parents ability to have their children receive services outside of the school.
Operated by independent institutions, usually local hospitals or community-based organizations, School Based Health Centers medical staff are not school employees. The New York State Department of Health oversees the performance of all SBHCs to assure that they are providing high-quality care. While SBHCs work closely with the principal and other school staff members, individual student records are confidential and information is not shared with school staff without parent consent. Exceptions to this rule include immunization information and updating of Department of Education and public health forms.
Our School-Based Health Centers have been providing on-site primary care to students for over 20 years.