For Health Providers

Community health providers can deliver primary health care to students, and sometimes families, through school-based health centers (SBHCs). This section is designed to help you understand how to bring your important medical, dental, and/or mental health services to under-served children, adolescents, and/or adults through an SBHC in your community!

Refer to our toolkit – From Vision to Reality: How to Build a School-Based Health Center from the Ground Up –  to get more details on any of the sections below.

There are many paths to developing or expanding clinical health services in schools: there is no one “right” way. We suggest that you begin by considering the following questions:

  • What health services can you bring to a school?
  • What kinds of clinical care do students need that the school/existing health provider doesn’t currently offer?
  • How can you build on your existing clinical services, staff expertise, and established partnerships to bring clinical care to one or more schools?

Why Operate School-Based Health Centers?

There are many reasons a health care agency such as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or hospital might consider opening and operating a SBHC. These range from mission-focused values to smart business practice.

Research shows that SBHCs:

  • Have a positive impact on health and education outcomes and equity
  • Increase the use of cost-effective preventive care
  • Help health care agencies improve clinical quality scores.
  • Increase a lead agency’s base of patients/clients
  • Support workforce development

Download our white paper on Navigating the Promise of SBHCs: A Guide for Health Care Leaders to get more information on how the SBHC model is different from traditional health care settings, and how medical providers can be successful in this alternative setting.

Key Start-Up Activities

Below, you will find a list of key planning activities that have helped many health care providers develop strong, sustainable school health programs. These start-up activities can happen in different orders, depending upon the school’s context and resources. You may also want to start by reviewing these Key Steps in Planning an SBHC

Get advice on establishing strong partner collaboration as well as information on the important role of school-based health center staff in maximizing the impact of the SBHC on student success in school.

If you want resources on how to apply for your community clinic to become a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), please contact the National Association of Community Health Centers. FQHCs enjoy a higher Medi-Cal reimbursement rate and federal grant to provide services to the uninsured.