COLUMBUS — The Ohio School-Based Health Alliance (Ohio Alliance) and more than 55 organizations share their collective support for improving Ohio children’s access to quality healthcare services through school-based health centers (SBHCs) via two amendments to House Bill 33, the state operating budget bill. SBHCs are a leading, sustainable model for connecting children to health care, created through a partnership between a school/school district and a healthcare provider to increase access to primary and other health care services to students.
“Ohio is home to a growing network of SBHCs that provide critical access to primary care, behavioral, oral, and vision health services for school-age children,” said Reem Aly, Executive Director of the Ohio School-Based Health Alliance. “In some rural, Appalachian, and urban regions of Ohio that are underserved, SBHCs are the only available healthcare provider for students and the broader community.”
The letter of support (available here) released today urges the Ohio General Assembly to increase the funding proposal put forward by Governor DeWine and maintained by the Ohio House of Representatives from $15 million to $20 million over the biennium to support the creation and expansion of SBHCs. Organizations signing on to the letter include SBHC providers, school districts, trade associations, county health departments, and advocacy groups around the state.
The amendments also include language that formalizes the Ohio Alliance’s role in partnering with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to support SBHCs and strengthen Ohio’s SBHC infrastructure.
“A $5 million increase over the biennium has the potential to make a much greater impact in the communities in Ohio that need it most,” continued Aly. “Strengthening and expanding SBHCs in Ohio can help keep kids healthy and in school, reduce high costs to the health care and Medicaid systems, and help parents stay at work so they are better able to support their families.”
The Ohio Senate is currently considering two amendments (SC0658 & SC0656) to House Bill 33 which would achieve the objectives sought by the Ohio Alliance and this coalition.