We’ve been hearing from our partners about exciting developments at the state level to advance school-based health care.
In New Mexico, a law was passed codifying that the New Mexico Department of Health will fund and support the opening and operation of school-based health centers. The law is designed to give more long-term security to the department’s SBHC program, said Nancy Rodriguez, Executive Director of the New Mexico Alliance for School-Based Health Care. In addition, the department received an additional $3 million to expand SBHCs.
In California, the California School-Based Health Alliance is endorsing the Strategic Anti-Violence Funding Efforts Act. The bill would redirect money saved from the closing of two prisons to increase access to physical and mental health services for K-12 students through SBHCs, among other initiatives. If the bill passes, $50 million in annual funding would be available for SBHCs, said Sergio Morales, Executive Director of the California School-Based Health Alliance.
And in Minnesota, the House of Representatives and Senate have each passed their version of a health finance omnibus bill. The law would enact the first dedicated funding for SBHCs since they first opened in Minnesota 50 years ago, said Shawna Hedlund, Executive Director of the Minnesota School-Based Health Alliance.
“We’re encouraged and energized by the progress being made on SBHC policies and funding in states across the nation,” said Suzanne Mackey, Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs. “The diligent work of our state affiliates will help expand access to quality healthcare for many more children and adolescents.“
This momentum in the states follows several years of federal funding increases. Fiscal Year 2021 marked the first-ever federal appropriation for SBHCs sponsored by federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), at $5 million, growing to $50 million in FY2023.
For FY2024, SBHA is seeking $200 million in appropriations, split equally between SBHCs operated by FQHCs and all other sponsor types, such as hospitals, health departments, and others.
As funding has increased, so has support for SBHCs among members of Congress. In the House, 69 representatives have signed a Member Dear Colleague letter requesting $200 million in SBHC appropriations for FY2024, up from 61 in FY2023. And in the Senate, 24 members have signed our request letter, up from 17 last year.
“We’re grateful for the continued support of our longtime champions in Congress and welcome members who are supporting SBHCs for the first time,” Mackey said.
If your state is also experiencing progress like this, please let us know!