The School-Based Health Alliance (SBHA) distributed an online survey to learn how school-based health centers (SBHCs) across the country have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were invited to complete the survey if they are official or forthcoming state affiliates of SBHA. Nineteen participants* disclosed the estimated current status of SBHCs in their states during the month of February.

Survey results indicate that approximately 25% of SBHCs have temporarily closed since spring 2020. A majority of the centers currently open provide a mix of in-person and telehealth services and primarily operate under reduced hours. Most SBHCs maintained the same pre-pandemic mental health service offerings/hours and some added COVID-19 testing to their service offerings.

More than ever before, SBHCs play a vital role in continued student healthcare support. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated children’s health disparities because of decreased access to school-based health services such as preventative screening and immunizations. School-based health services can decrease financial barriers for low-income families, limiting the adverse impacts of social determinants of health. It is therefore imperative to prioritize SBHCs as students prepare to attend school in-person this upcoming school year. In order for SBHCs to operate at full capacity, participants indicated SBHCs need improved financial support, human resources, access to patients, and changes in national or state-level policy.

Join SBHA in telling the story of how the pandemic has affected SBHCs by participating in our upcoming national survey by emailing research@sbh4all.org.

*The survey included responses from representatives of the following states: OR, AK, CO, CT, DE, CA, PA, OH, KY, MO, IL, MD, WV, GA, MI, AR, WA, NM, MN

References:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2021, January 07). CMS Issues New Roadmap for States to Address the Social Determinants of Health to Improve Outcomes, Lower Costs, Support State Value-Based Care Strategies [Press Release]. Retrieved from: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-issues-new-roadmap-states-address-social-determinants-health-improve-outcomes-lower-costs

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