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What's Your Story?
School-Based Health Centers can make a tremendous difference in the lives of young people. Here are some examples.
A letter to a SBHC nurse practitioner
You have done so much for me believe it or not. Through everything the past two years, I have to say I always looked at you for help when I needed it. You helped me when was in my doubts about everything. With my medical and personal problems, it means so much to me.
I'm not going to lie you had a big part of getting my head straight and getting me on the right path. I realized that a lot of things I have done in my past was stupid and childish. When I thought I was acting like an "adult" I really wasn't. For the most part I was being selfish and thinking about what I wanted, not what I needed. So when you told me I needed to start acting like an adult and take responsibility, I had a reality check.
Never the less I will take that into life outside of high school. I know maybe the right choices in life aren't always the easiest. Thanks to you, I got a lot of my priorities right now because of you. I'm coming up with plans and listening more to people. With the bad influences I'm now keeping my distance.
Thank you again for everything you have done! I hope you change more people's life like how you did mine. I hope one day we'll see each other down the long road. I promise you that I’ll make the best of each day after high school.
Stories Are Powerful Tools
When you share your personal story, you've just added your voice with others help to compell decision-makers to better understand why health services in school mean so much to studentslike you. Please take a few moments and share your story, either using the story form below, or via email or facebook.
A Story from Pendleton
School-Based Health Centers Create a Caring Place for Students
“I feel so lucky to have a school-based health center at my child’s high school. It has been a tremendous resource for my family,” says a parent to a high school sophomore. “My daughter wasn’t feeling well and visited the SBHCs at her school. The Nurse Practitioner ran a quick lab test, got the results immediately, emailed a prescription to the pharmacy that my daughter was able to pick up on her way home from school. She didn’t have to miss any class time, nor did I lose anytime at work. She started to feel better right away and best of all, we avoided the lengthy, unpredictable wait at the Urgent Care office. It was a phenomenal experience.”
Last school Oregon’s 54 SBHCs provided easily accessible, quality health primary health care, mental health and prevention services to 25,000 students for 72,080 visits. SBHCs are an important part of our state’s health care safety net, offering care regardless of a family’s ability to pay.
These centers serve a vital need in their communities. Adolescents are often reported to have the lowest access to health care of any age group – and they are the least likely to seek care in the traditional medical office setting.
“The school health centers see students who would not otherwise get care. A sick child or one who has some mental health concerns can not learn. The centers help them get back to the classroom faster.This also helps so that parents do not need to miss a day of work, which can be difficult financially for families,” said the Oregon Public Health Adolescent Health Program Manager.
In Pendleton, Oregon two school health centers provided care to 1,216 students last year for 6,112 visits. Students were seen for the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses; immunizations; mental health counseling and divorce and family issues counseling; support groups; vision and dental screening; smoking prevention and cessation; eating disorders, referrals for health services; classroom health presentations and has a teen parent program.
“What is different about SBHCs is that we are very accessible—both because we are located on campus and because the kids get to know us and feel comfortable coming in to see us. We are part of their community and that makes us unique among medical providers.” says Pendleton HS SBHC nurse.
The Pendleton High School Principal confirms that the SBHC is hugely important to the success of the school. Lovell says his SBHC provides a “healthier overall environment. Providing on site health care for students and staff reduces absenteeism and increases attendance.” The SBHC “provides additional personnel to handle the vast array of health issues that our students are dealing with—more issues than at any other time in the history of public schools. The Health Center staff are in a critical position to form personal, trusting relationships with students when talking about health issues, yet they provide so much more than health care: at its simplest, it is another adult looking out for their overall good health. It is priceless,” says Principal from Pendleton High School.
Oregon Public Health helps to support Oregon’s SBHCs through a grant program for state certified SBHCs. State funding is distributed through local public health authorities. SBHCs develop based on local need and through a community–engaged planning process. Funding streams, medical sponsorship and management differ from center to center. Communities use the state grant to leverage $3-4 additional dollars to support health center operations, and these dollars may come from county health departments, revenue from billing, school district support (largely in-kind), hospitals, community providers, local businesses and individuals, grant foundations and fundraising. The average school health center in Oregon costs an estimated $150,000 to $250,000/year to operate. Oregon Public Health also conducts certification, provides training and technical assistance to the centers and/or counties, and collects data for surveillance purposes.
SBHCs have a medical provider on staff (a nurse practioner, doctor, or physician’s assistant), a receptionist and often have an RN and /or mental health practitioner on staff. Oregon’s54 SBHCs offer comprehensive physical, mental and preventive health services to youths and adolescents in their schools, and 14 communities have planning grants to develop new SBHCs Some communities decide to make services available to the entire community, while other SBHCs offer services only to children in a particular school or to all children in the district.
The Pendleton School-Based Health Centers are a collaborative effort with St. Anthony’s Hospital and the Pendleton School District.