Children and youth without health insurance are far more likely to miss school, are less ready to learn and tend to go to the emergency room for treatable conditions such as asthma attacks to ear infections (source: Families USA). School-based health centers (SBHCs) are an important strategy for improving children’s health—and in turn their academic achievement—by providing affordable, quality care in an easily accessible and trusted setting.
Community Grants Program
The Colorado Trust’s Colorado School Health Improvement ensured that more students statewide receive school-based health care. Administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the grant helped to expand care provided in 40 Colorado SBHCs in 17 school districts, and to establish new SBHCs in additional communities across the state. While services offered differed from site to site, an emphasis was placed on providing comprehensive quality care, including primary and preventive physical, dental and behavioral health care.
Statewide School Health Infrastructure and Improvement Plan
The Trust also supported the Colorado School Health Leadership Task Force that created a comprehensive plan for the state to strengthen and sustain the system of integrated, quality school health. In leading the task force, the Colorado Children’s Campaign brought together representatives from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado State Board of Education and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, as well as county commissioners, school administrators, school health nurses, school-sponsored mental health providers, school-based health center administrators, community health care providers, parents, teachers and members of the business community to ensure that the plan is developed with broad representation and expertise. Key task force objectives included an emphasis on addressing the needs of rural and underserved communities, and determining how best to ensure integration of primary, mental and dental services.