Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 4:39am

Starting an SBHC

1.  What is the first step in starting an SBHC? Learn as much as you can about SBHCs; collect preliminary information about health needs of your students, i.e.- why do you need an SBHC? Identify a few key supporters, including the school nurse, school counselors, principal, community health center, medical providers and parents in your community. Anticipate the possibility of public resistance and develop a support base before participating in activities such as committee meetings or public hearings. Finally, have a health care entity willing to take a lead role in planning and implementation.

2.  What additional steps are needed? Determine feasibility- you must have the support of the key players in the community. Is there space available in the school? Are there some possibilities for funding? Do you have a health care entity to manage the program? Seek formal approval by identifying a school system liaison to facilitate the process, engaging key individuals to speak publicly on behalf of the project, and establishing a formal written contract.

3. Who should be involved in the planning? The key supporters above, or their representatives, plus parents, youth, hospital representatives, family resource network, mental health providers, and any other influential leaders in the ocmmunity who might lend their support.

4.  Who administers SBHCs in West Virginia? Most of the SBHCs are administered by community health centers; one program is operated by a community hospital.

5.  What are facility start-up costs? Start-up costs are those associated with remodeling, if needed, as well as supplies and equipment. It is difficult to come up with a cost estimate, because it depends upon the services provided and the extent of remodeling. Some programs get much of the start-up costs covered by donations.

6.  How are SBHCs currently funded? Most programs rely on a combination of federal and state government funding, as well as private foundation grants and reimbursement from third party insurance. Some of the community health centers use a portion of their federal 330 grants also.

7.  Can a SBHC serve more than one school? Yes, definitely.  This decision should be part of the planning process. Some SBHCs start out by serving one school, then gradually expand to include other schools for services such as immunization campaigns or well child exams.

8.  How do students pay for services? Students are not expected to pay at the SBHC. Bills may be mailed home to parents, but students are never turned away based on their ability to pay. 

9.  How do SBHCs work with local providers? The school nurse? The SBHC should have written policies and procedures regarding sharing information with local providers and school personnel.  The school nurse is usually part of the planning team and is a partner in the care of the students.

10.  Where can I find additional information?  Check out the SBHCs 101 section, as well as our Partners tab under the Main Menu. 

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