School Based Health Center
A family/School/Community partnership dedicated to healthy children and adolescents
Healthy kids make better learners
Your school-based health center (SBHC) is one of more than seventy similar facilities across Connecticut. The one at your school is a program of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT, which operates 17 health centers in New London, Groton, and Norwich. The mission of the Agency and of the SBHCs is to promote the well-being and development of all children and their families, in particular to give priority to the unmet needs of children lacking physical, emotional, and intellectual care and nurturing. SBHCs are familiar venues for children/adolescents as they see and pass by them frequently in their school day. The staff also become familiar, friendly faces. Parents appreciate the convenience of having their child/adolescent receive health care at the school as it eliminates barriers such as transportation and lack of available or convenient appointments. The goal is to provide the health care that allows the child/adolescent to maximize their school experience.
SBHCs are licensed by the Department of Public Health. They provide confidential physical and behavioral health services to students on site. Parents must sign a permission form for students to use the center. A SBHC is not the same as the school nurse's office: however, the school nurse and the SBHC staff work together to provide coordinated, comprehensive health services to the students.
SBHCs are staffed by teams specializing in child/adolescent health, including one or more licensed nurse practitioners and mental health clinicians who are either social workers, marriage and family therapists, or professional counselors. Each center has a medical consultant with whom the Nurse Practitioner has a collaborative practice agreement. The Agency also has Medical Directors, who review the services offered.
SBHCs are licensed by the state of Connecticut to provide specific services such as:
- Physical exams for school, camp, sports
- Treatment of acute injuries and illnesses (such as colds, ear infections, sore throats, and skin problems)
- Prescription and dispensing of medications
- Laboratory testing
- Diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases
- Pregnancy Testing
- Case finding and treatment for chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes
- Crisis intervention
- Individual, family and group counseling
- Referral & follow-up for specialty care
- Health education (such as classes for children with asthma)
- Classroom presentations, often with school staff (Example, anti-bullying)
Each SBHC is a free-standing health facility, operating in a manner appropriate to the school and community where it is located. SBHCs are guided by local advisory boards, composed of local medical and mental health professionals, school officials, community leaders, parents, and students. Each SBHC follows a work plan approved by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health.
The SBHCs are supported by a grant from the Department of Public Health, by the United Way, an occasional small community grant for a specific project, and some third-party reimbursement. The child/adolescent's insurance company is billed when appropriate for services provided (as mandated by the State Department of Public Health), but out-of-pocket fees are waived. If the child/adolescent does not have health insurance and is eligible for state programs, the staff will assist the family in applying for it.
Each SBHC is dedicated to working with its school and community. Staff in the centers are educational and community resources, able to provide programs on wellness, disease prevention, health promotion and general health management.
SBHCs are committed to treating each child in a thorough, confidential manner, offering services that are in their best interest. They share a developmental approach to pediatric and adolescent health, respecting the age, cultural values and family situation of every student.
It is the mission of SBHCs to help students learn about health practices that promote their health and well-being. Each center emphasizes early identification of physical and mental health concerns and the prevention of more serious problems by early treatment.
OPEN TO ALL
All students whose parent/guardian has signed a registration/permission form may use the SBHC, regardless of income or health care coverage. Every effort is made to communicate any treatment provided at the health center to the student's primary care provider (pediatrician, community health center, etc.). If a student does not have a primary care provider, otherwise known as a medical home, efforts will be made to help the family establish one.
Students are referred to the health center by the school nurse or other members of the student support team at the school (guidance counselor, social worker, etc.). Parents may always call the SBHC and request an appointment for their child/adolescent. Since services cannot be provided unless there is a signed Registration Form on file, it is recommended that parents complete the Form at the start of the school year.
For medical questions after regular working hours, families should call their child's community provider. If it is an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
For children receiving mental health services, there is an on-call clinician available for emergencies when the SBHC is closed. That phone number is provided on the School Based Health Center's answering machine.