Health Access Grows for Students in CA

Hiram Johnson SBHC Opening

Students and faculty join CA Rep. Doris Matsui in celebrating the opening of the Hiram Johnson SBHC in Sacramento in March 2015.

School-based health care is growing in California and providing more services and health care access for students.  There are now 243 school-based health centers (SBHCs) providing high-quality health care to students. Across California, more than 257,000 students attend a school that has a health center, and many more have access to other types of school health services.

This is more than double the number a decade ago. Of the 243 SBHCs, 150 offer mental health care, 66 offer dental treatment, and 124 offer youth engagement programs that keep kids engaged in school and thinking about their future.

SBHCs are so popular because they offer convenient health care for kids in a setting families already know and trust.

Students who utilize SBHCs are less likely to go to the emergency room or be hospitalized, keeping costs down. SBHCs also improve attendance, reduce dropout rates, improve school climate, and support students’ academic achievement. Schools and school districts partner with health service providers to finance SBHCs.

More Information on California’s SBHCs

There are 243 SBHCs serving 257,000 students across California. SBHCs are usually located directly on a school campus and provide primary care like any health clinic. Staff vary in size, and typically includes nurse practitioners, nurses, mental health providers, as well as part-time physicians and medical students. Services are provided at no or low cost. No one is refused service for inability to pay.

Services Offered

Service Number Percentage
Medical 209
Health Education 172 71%
Mental Health
150 62%
Reproductive Health – Screening & Education
146 60%
Reproductive Health – Clinical Care 136 56%
Youth Engagement 124
Dental Prevention 118
Dental Treatment


Sponsoring Org Types

Type of Sponsoring Organization Number Percentage
Community Clinic 131 54% 
School District 69 28% 
Local Health Department 11 5%
Hospital 10
Nonprofit Organization 8
Mental Health Agency 8
University,  Including Medical Center 1
Tribal Government 1 .4%
Other 4 2%


Onsite SBHC Location Level 

School Level Number Percentage
High School 115 47%
Elementary School 62 26%
Middle School 26 11%
Other (school-linked/mobile/combined levels) 40 16%