School-Based Health Programs

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

School-Based Health Programs support health services to students in the school setting, which is particularly important for students who need to manage chronic health conditions over the course of the day, and for students facing barriers to care.

Funding from this line item takes two main forms:

Essential School Health Services grants go to school districts to fund nurse leaders who oversee data collection and reporting, and provide consultative and coordinating services within a school district and with other districts. (School nurses providing direct health supports to students in schools are typically paid by other school district funds, not from this line item.) Programs overseen by these nurse leaders may include smoking and tobacco use prevention programs, coordination with community health providers, as well as care provided to students as required through state law, such as hearing, vision, postural, and Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings and referrals.

School-Based Health Center grants fund health centers that operate under the auspices of a sponsoring organization (such as a community health center or hospital) and that are located in schools (typically high schools). School-based health centers must meet requirements for Dept. of Public Health licensure, and are staffed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants who are authorized to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications as necessary. School-based health centers are located in high-need areas (determined using criteria such as high rates of free lunch eligibility and limited access to primary health care), and serve all students, regardless of ability to pay. The centers provide primary and acute health care and mental health services. They also coordinate care with student support staff and outside health providers. Centers receive reimbursements for care provided to students who are enrolled in MassHealth, as well as federal grant funds and private donations.

In addition, a small portion of funding from this line item goes to improving poorer health outcomes experienced by bay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth.

Updated January, 2015

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