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Capps Introduces School-Based Health Centers Legislation
(WASHINGTON) Today, Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24) introduced the Hallways to Health Act, legislation that would provide federal support for high-quality comprehensive health care and mental health services to students at School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) across the country. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan) introduced companion legislation in the Senate this week.
The Hallways to Health Act would improve the delivery of School-Based Health Center services by expanding access to community health workers, tele-health services, and provide technical assistance to improve care in medically underserved areas. In addition, the bill would ensure that all public health insurance programs reimburse SBHC providers for services covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to ensure the long-term financial stability of these important centers.
“School-Based Health Centers help ensure that all children have access to health and mental health care services,” Capps said. “As a school nurse, I have seen firsthand the link between health status and educational outcomes. School-based health centers are an important tool to keep kids healthy, in the classroom, and learning. These centers are often the only access students have to vital health services and they help ensure students get the care they need when they need it.”
“Too many children across our country do not have access to a family doctor and depend on basic health care services during the school day,” said Senator Stabenow (D-MI). “The Hallways to Health Act will help school-based health centers with new resources to strengthen and improve health care services for children in need of care.”
“The Hallways to Health Act will improve access to quality health care services and healthy behaviors education for students in Michigan,” said Senator Peters (D-MI). “Better connecting school-based health centers with skilled professionals who offer timely, specialized treatment will not only enhance wellness but boost educational outcomes as well.”
“With the introduction of Hallways to Health, Congress is taking a monumental step towards increasing access to primary care and mental health services for our nation’s most vulnerable children and adolescents, and securing the status of school-based health centers as an essential component of our health care safety net,” said John Schlitt, President of the School-Based Health Alliance.
Congresswoman Capps originally authored SBHC legislation in 2009, which became law as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. This bill builds on that law to better support innovation in school based health centers and keeps them on solid financial footing.