While it is wonderful that more communities will have school-based clinics (and existing clinics will have better equipment), centers are still in critical need of federal support for operations. In addition to receiving capital funds, school-based health centers also became a federally authorized program through the 2010 law. The authorization allows for federal funds to be used for training, management and operation of programs and salaries for health professionals. Until funds are appropriated, however, there remains no federal operations support for school-based health centers.
Federal funding for operations will build the capacity of school-based health centers to provide prevention activities and diabetes screenings, allowing them to catch students even earlier. We are asking that the $50 million be allocated this year to ensure that students such as Amy don’t fall through the cracks — hurting their health and their ability to succeed in school and in life.
Linda Juszczak is president of the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.