School-Based Health in Health Care Reform Initiative
Health care reform is catalyzing many changes in how healthcare is delivered and financed. The overarching goal of these changes is what is called the triple aim: to improve patients’ experience in health care, to improve health outcomes, and to reduce healthcare costs. The Affordable Care Act contains various provisions that push states, health plans, and providers to focus on improved outcomes, rather than just delivering units of service. These changes are opening up new opportunities for innovative approaches to healthcare delivery and for a greater emphasis on prevention.
School-based health centers and programs are perfectly aligned with new directions in healthcare.
People working in the field of school-based health know how much easier it is for patients to access care when it is brought to a school site. Providers often tell us how much more information they get from their adolescent patients when they are on their own turf; or how much more connection they have with families when they are situated in such a central community location. Every day school-based health practitioners are going outside their clinic walls to educate students in their classrooms, meet with teachers, engage parents in health education and insurance enrollment, and address social determinants of health such as food access. Many SBHCs integrate mental health into their care and have longstanding “patient-centered” practices that provide a high level of support and communication. In many ways school-based health is ahead of the curve in engaging patients and promoting prevention.
CSHA’s Health Care Reform Initiative brings the strengths of school-based health into the effort to transform healthcare in California. Specifically we are:
- Educating managed care plans, hospitals, and county health departments about the benefits of school-based health.
- Advocating for public policies that would help expand the role of school-based health in health care reform.