CSHA introduces legislation to support school health services
We are sponsoring legislation this year, AB 834 (O’Donnell). AB 834 would establish an Office of School-Based Health programs within the California Department of Education (CDE), to provide leadership and assistance to school districts offering health programs through the public schools. The Office would work closely with the Department of Health Care Services to assist school participation in federal reimbursement programs, like the LEA Medi-Cal Billing Program and School Medicaid Administrative Activities. We are excited to work closely with the author and school districts to strengthen school health services. (March 2017)
State Budget Includes Funds for School Health
The California state budget for 2016-17 was signed by the Governor on June 27 and includes $600,000 in support of school-based health centers (SBHCs). The funding will be used to create two positions in the Department of Public Health to provide technical assistance in the development and expansion of SBHCs over a two year period. While this funding will not go directly to SBHCs, it is a huge first step in strengthening our state’s investment in them. We will be providing recommendations to the Department of Public Health about how the state-funded staff can support SBHCs. (June 2016)
Governor signs bill that extends hours for SBHCs
We are excited to share that Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1130 (Gray) which allows primary care clinics that are operating on an intermittent basis the option to provide 30 hours of care per week, rather than 20 hours as currently allowed by law. Many school-based health centers (SBHCs) are sponsored by community clinics and operate as intermittent sites. AB 1130 will help increase access to health care for students and families by allowing SBHCs to remain open for longer. (September 2015)
Budget deal expands Medi-Cal for undocumented kids
California lawmakers and the Governor agreed to expand Medi-Cal to all eligible low-income children in our state, regardless of immigration status. In an agreement reached June 16, the budget starting July 1 will include $40 million to expand Medi-Cal coverage to an estimated 170,000 children starting May 1, 2016. The California School-Based Health Alliance lauds this historic change that will ensure all Californian children receive the health care they need. School-based health centers will better be able to serve these children because of this much-needed change. We thank and applaud the leadership of the Legislature and the advocacy of our partner organizations in pursuing this important change. Read more about the budget deal from Health Access. (June 2015)
CSHA sponsors two bills in 2015
We are sponsoring two bills that will help school health providers. SB 118: School-Based Health & Education Partnership Program (Liu) improves the existing grant program that was created in 2008, but never funded. It updates the grant categories to better reflect the current needs of school-based health centers, including a new grant category for public health and prevention programs, such as obesity, asthma, and substance abuse prevention, and early interventions for mental health. AB 1130: Clinic Licensing & Hours (Gray) allows primary care clinics that are operating on an “intermittent basis” the option to provide 30 hours of care per week, rather than 20 hours currently allowed by law. Many SBHCs that are sponsored by community clinics are operating as intermittent clinics so this bill would give those clinics the option to remain open for longer hours to address the health care needs of students and families. (April 2015)
Legislature sends budget compromise to the Governor
For the first time ever, the state Assembly Budget Committee voted to include $3 million to fund SBHCs in the 2014-2015 budget. This was great news and an exciting step in the direction of state funding for SBHCs. Despite our advocacy efforts to keep this funding in the budget, the version that was sent to Governor Brown did not end up including funding for SBHCs. There were many health programs vying for funding in the budget this year that were not included. Of the $55 million proposed by the Assembly and the nearly $9 million proposed by the Senate for public health programs, only $7 million was finally included: $4 million for the Black Infant Health Program and $3 million for HIV prevention services. This decision indicates a clear compromise with the Governor to limit spending in this year’s budget. (June 2014)
Thank you for speaking up for state funding for SBHCs!
Despite our efforts, the version of the state budget that was sent to Governor Brown did not include funding for SBHCs. Our disappointment is tempered by the energy you generated with your activism and the supportive feedback we received from legislators. We have never made this much progress in the state budget process before!
Here are some highlights from our week of advocacy:
- Many of you made calls and sent emails to your legislators on the Conference Committee. We sent emails to 973 constituents in our database living in San Francisco, Sacramento, the East Bay, and San Diego asking them to call key legislators. Our partners at LA Trust also sent an action alert to their list of contacts in Los Angeles County.
- We had more than 20 organizations send in letters of support for our budget item.
- We reached out to constituents in Senator Hancock’s and Assemblymember Skinner’s districts to sign onto a petition in support of state funding for SBHCs. In 24 hours, we received 364 sign-ons and many, many incredible comments from supporters about the importance of SBHCs.
- We received a lot of support via our Facebook and Twitter channels thanks to our Youth Board members who activated their networks to urge key legislators to support SBHCs.
SB 1055 fails to advance out of the Senate
CSHA’s bill, SB 1055 that makes minor changes to the school-based health center support program, unexpectedly died last week when it was unable to advance out of the Senate before the deadline on Friday, May 30. The bill got caught up in issues unrelated to our efforts or the policy and content of SB 1055. While we are disappointed with this development, we are working doubly hard to get funding for the support program in the 2014-2015 state budget. It is possible that with funding in the state budget, we can include the changes to the program that were outlined in SB 1055. (May 2014)
Assembly budget includes funding for SBHCs
For the first time ever, the state Assembly Budget Committee voted to include $3 million to fund SBHCs in the 2014-2015 budget. They passed a $55 million Public Health Reinvestment which includes $3 million for SBHCs! This is great news and an exciting step in the direction of state funding for SBHCs. There’s still a long way to go before the final state budget – from here it needs to be approved in Conference Committee (where the Senate and Assembly come together to develop one budget proposal) and then we will need to convince leaders in the legislature to go to bat for it in the final negotiations with the Governor. But it’s exciting to have state funding for SBHCs officially on the table. (June 2014)
Governor’s New Budget Proposal
Governor Jerry Brown released his FY 2014-2015 state budget on Thursday, January 9. Major state investments in areas of health and education include:
- $670 million in Medi-Cal expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act, as well as more extensive coverage for mental health and substance abuse disorders.
- $42 million returned to some Medi-Cal providers to counteract a payment rate decrease.
- $17.5 million to increase dental outreach services to children ages 0-3.
- An additional $4.5 billion to continue implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula, which includes weighted funding targeting school districts with a high proportion of underserved children and youth.
For detailed information about the budget, visit the Governor’s Budget website. (January 2014)
New LCFF Ruling Is Good News for SBHCs
The California State Board of Education recently approved spending regulations that clarify that Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds can be used for school or district wide purposes such as SBHCs and school health staff (e.g., nurses, social workers, health coordinators) as long as they are benefiting the low-income students, English language learners, and foster youth targeted by the LCFF. These regulations will guide the development of school district spending plans due by July 2014 under the new school funding system. School districts will be holding local hearings to get community input on how these dollars should be used. This is a great opportunity to suggest funds be used for SBHCs or other school health services. Learn more about the new regulations. (January 2014)
Governor Vetoes CSHC’s Mental Health Bill
CSHC’s school mental health bill, AB 174 (Bonta), passed both the Assembly and Senate houses. Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed the bill on Wednesday, October 9. We are disappointed in the outcome but encouraged by the support we received throughout the legislative process for trauma-informed mental health services. We also acknowledge that the Governor did sight the importance of these services in his veto message and encouraged counties to set up services and programs outlined in our legislation. Read the Governor’s veto message here. Access to mental health services for students is critical and we will continue to work toward policies that support school-based mental health. (October 2013)
CSHC’s School Mental Health Bill Passes Senate Appropriations Committee
CSHC’s school mental health bill, AB 174 (Bonta), passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 30th. To reduce the cost of the bill, AB 174 was amended by the Assembly Appropriations Committee to become a pilot program focused on Alameda County. As a statewide organization, we recognize that the need for school-based, trauma-informed mental health care extends far beyond Alameda County. However, we are hopeful that a successful pilot will lay the groundwork for a broader program in the future. AB 174 must now be voted on by the Senate, which will happen by September 13, and approved by Governor Jerry Brown. Whether you are in Alameda County or another part of California, we hope you will join us in securing mental health services for children and youth who have been impacted by trauma. (September 2013)
CSHC’s School Mental Health Bill Passes Senate Health Committee
CSHC’s school mental health bill, AB 174 (Bonta), passed out of the Senate Health Committee on July 3rd. A big thanks to all of AB 174′s supporters–especially Simone Johnson, from CSHC’s youth board, and Kilian Betlach, principal of Elmhurst Community Prep in Oakland, for testifying in support of the bill! CSHC and the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network are co-sponsoring AB 174, which will create a grant program to fund school-based mental health services for students impacted by trauma. Schools and SBHCs will be able to use grant dollars to pay for a range of services, including: individual, group, and family counseling; youth development programs and school-wide initiatives to prevent and address violence; case management and coordination; and support for educators in meeting students’ mental health needs. To reduce the cost of the bill, AB 174 was amended by the Assembly Appropriations Committee to become a pilot program focused on Alameda County. As a statewide organization, we recognize that the need for school-based, trauma-informed mental health care extends far beyond Alameda County. However, we are hopeful that a successful pilot will lay the groundwork for a broader program in the future. Read a fact sheet with more information about the bill here. (July 2013)
CSHC Board Votes to Support Both Education Revenue Initiatives
CSHC’s Board of Directors has voted to endorse both education revenue initiatives that will appear on California’s November ballot. “California’s education system is already stretched too thin,” says Serena Clayton, CSHC’s Executive Director. “Supporting both propositions makes it more likely that some funding will get to schools, while choosing only one measure could result in both measures failing at the ballot. More money flowing into schools increases the likelihood that health and wellness programs will continue to meet the needs presented by students.” Proposition 30, Governor Brown’s initiative, would stop over $4.8 billion from being cut from K-12 education next year. Proposition 38, sponsored by Our Children Our Future, would raise new money specifically for K-12 education and help offset some of the $20 billion that has been cut since 2008. For more information see Educate Our State’s comparison chart and fact sheet on the importance of a yes/yes vote. The California Budget Project also has in-depth briefs on each initiative: What Would Proposition 30 Mean for California? and What Would Proposition 38 Mean for California? (Oct 2012)
New Immunization Exemption Requirement
Right now, parents who do not want their children to be vaccinated can sign a “personal belief exemption.” Unfortunately, with more and more families choosing not to vaccinate, the risk of communicable disease outbreaks is growing. A new law, AB 2109, which goes into effect in 2014, will require parents to consult with a health care provider before being exempted from school entry immunization requirements. This requirement will create an opportunity for SBHCs to engage families in conversations about their health, as well as to provide on-campus vaccination clinics. CSHC will provide additional information on the implementation of the new law in the coming months. For now, see our Immunization webpage for additional information and resources. (Oct 2012)
Special Health Care Reform Legislative Session in December
The Legislature wrapped up its 2011-2012 session on September 30th. During the last few days of the session the Governor called for a special legislative session on health care reform implementation, to be convened in December. We will be watching this session closely and sharing information about SBHCs and their unique ability to reach and serve children and families.
CSHC had supported several bills this session because of their potential to help improve the health and well-being of our state’s children. See CSHC Legislative Positions to learn what happened to these bills. (Oct 2012)
Allowable Uses for Section 317 Vaccine
The federal Section 317 Grant Program provides funding for operations and infrastructure necessary to implement a comprehensive immunization program at the federal, state, and local levels. States were recently notified of an upcoming change in how federally purchased Section 317 vaccines can be used.
Beginning on October 1, 2012, 317 vaccine can no longer be used for immunizing individuals who are insured and whose insurance will pay for a specific vaccine. In the past, Section 317 vaccines have been an important safety net for insured individuals whose primary care providers do not offer certain vaccines due to low reimbursement by health plans and for individuals who cannot afford the high co-pays associated with certain vaccines. Those school-based health centers using Section 317 funds for underinsured children should anticipate this change as they consider their immunization resource capacity.
The California Department of Public Health has a number of resources on the changes to the Section 317 policies. (Sept 2012)
Health Care Reform Upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States
On June 28, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld almost all of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Court ruled 5-4 that the “individual mandate”–the requirement that virtually all Americans buy health insurance–is constitutional, thereby affirming a central feature of health care reform and ensuring that many more Americans will benefit from coverage. Although the Court did limit Congress’ ability to require states to expand their Medicaid programs, their decision also guarantees many newly enacted consumer protections, such as the ability of children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, the ban on coverage denials due to preexisting conditions, and the elimination of cost-sharing for preventive services.
Health care reform created a federal grant program specifically for SBHCs. More than half of the $200 million appropriated for SBHC construction and equipment has already been awarded, with California applicants receiving almost $17 million. An additional $75 million is now available: see our Grants with Deadlines page for information. We are continuing to work with NASBHC and other partners to secure a federal appropriation for SBHC operations: please read our e-blasts to learn how you can be helpful in this effort!
Read more about this historic decision at the SCOTUSblog. (June 2012)
Governor Signs Budget Shifting Healthy Families Enrollees to Medi-Cal
On June 27, Governor Brown signed the final 2012-2013 budget. Despite strong opposition from many advocates, including CSHC, the budget eliminates the Healthy Families Program, shifting all 880,000 enrollees into Medi-Cal over the course of 2014. Moving forward, we will work with other advocates to ensure a smooth transition and that children and youth have access to needed health care. Many other health and human service programs were also cut, but legislators did reject Governor Brown’s proposal to reduce reimbursement rates for federally qualified health centers, which run approximately 50% of the SBHCs in California. Finally, the budget increases funding for K-12 schools–but only if voters approve tax increases in November. If voters reject tax increases, trigger cuts will be implemented: schools will lose approximately 10% of their funding and be given the option to reduce the school year by 15 days each of the next 2 years.
Health Exchange Affirms Role of Educational Partners and SBHCs
Over the next few months, important decisions will be made about the California Health Benefit Exchange, through which millions of Californians will purchase subsidized insurance coverage starting in 2014.
In collaboration with other statewide advocacy organizations, we submitted recommendations on Exchange marketing, outreach, and enrollment. We want to maximize the role of schools and SBHCs in statewide efforts to enroll all Californians in public or commercial insurance. We were pleased to see an explicit focus on collaboration with educational partners and SBHCs in the final marketing plan, and we look forward to sharing information about how to apply for education and outreach grants sometime later this fall. In addition, the Exchange Board approved a final plan for the statewide Assisters program which will allow community clinics, including SBHCs, to apply to be certified as compensated enrollment agents (“compensated Assisters” or “Navigators”). Again, as we learn more about this process, we will keep you updated.
Finally, we helped lead efforts to develop broader recommendations for ensuring a child/youth friendly Exchange. These include designating SBHCs as “essential community providers,” establishing pediatric quality measures, and taking advantage of the unique role of schools and SBHCs in connecting with hard-to-reach families. Over the coming months, we will be meeting with Exchange Board members to discuss the recommendations and solicit support, and we will share information as policies take shape. (June 2012)