School-based health centers (SBHCs) are as individual as the clients they serve and are supported by many communities because they respond to local needs. Accordingly, the operations and financing of SBHCs depend upon local resources and partnerships.

The most common organizations serving as the health care provider and sponsor of SBHCs in California are community health centers and school districts. Other sponsoring organizations include county health departments, hospitals/medical centers, mental health agencies, nonprofit community-based organizations, and private physician groups.

SBHCs are funded, in part, through third-party reimbursement.  Programs that support SBHCs include:

  • The Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP)
  • Family PACT
  • Medi-Cal
  • Healthy Families
  • EPSDT (County mental health)

In addition to reimbursement for services, SBHCs are also funded by county funds, private and government grants, contributions from the school district, subsidies from the sponsoring organization, and donations.

Federal health care reform has also provided a critical financial boost for SBHCs. The law outlined $200 million over four years for the construction of and equipment for SBHCs. It was the first time in history that SBHCs received a dedicated federal funding stream. Between 2011 and 2012, California received $30 million through 70 grants to build and expand SBHCs.

Read this fact sheet on how some school districts are funding their SBHC.

For a more detailed look at how SBHCs are funded, check out our Funding section.