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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Ringing the Bell on School-Based Health Center Data

More of Colorado’s most vulnerable children are getting health care at school than ever before.

Support from Colorado lawmakers, the federal government and the state’s health foundations has helped school-based health centers (SBHC) expand and multiply. And with a recent infusion of funds from the legislature, school-based health is poised for more growth.

A new Colorado Health Institute report analyzes the role of SBHCs in our state using data from an annual survey, which is administered by the Colorado Health Institute in collaboration with the Colorado Association for School-Based Health Care (CASBHC).

Here is what we found:

Where: At the time of the survey there were 54 SBHCs throughout Colorado. Today, there are 56.

Who: 32,000 children used SBHCs during the 2012-13 school year, a 50 percent increase since 2006-07. Six of ten SBHC users are Hispanic. Medicaid enrollees make up nearly half of SBHCs users, up from 31.6 percent in 2006-07. Fewer uninsured kids used SBHCs than they did in 2006-07, most likely because there are fewer uninsured children in the state. SBHCs are still reaching many uninsured children in need; one of four SBHC users is uninsured, even though only seven percent of children statewide lack coverage.

What: During the 2012-13 school year, there were more than 100,000 total visits to SBHCs. Most visits were for primary care, but SBHCs provided many other services, including oral and behavioral health care, immunizations and health education.

How: In Colorado, SBHCs have maintained a diversified funding stream. Patient-related revenue – primarily Medicaid - makes up one third of SBHC revenue. In-kind donations and private grants and donations are also important sources of revenue. Federal, state and local funding contribute to the funding stream as well.

SBHCs are designed to serve students with limited access to care. The data show that SBHCs are generally reaching their target populations. Most students using SBHCs are publically insured or uninsured and the majority are minority students.

CHI and CASBHC are gearing up for the launch of the 2013-14 survey, which will continue to provide insights around the evolving role of SBHCs in our state.