Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 12:13 pm | Partly Cloudy 63º


Capps Introduces Bill to Improve Children’s Access to Health Services

The legislation would promote school-based clinics for medically underserved communities

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, with Reps. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Davis of California and Mike Rogers of Michigan, on Tuesday introduced legislation to improve children’s access to quality primary health services.

Capps, a former public school nurse, introduced the School-Based Health Clinic Establishment Act of 2009 to provide comprehensive and easily accessible preventive and primary health care service to medically underserved communities at school-based health clinics. The legislation would provide a consistent, dedicated stream of federal funding to support the school-based health clinics.

“This is a smart investment in our young people that will improve their health and their academic performance,” said Capps, vice chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee. “Too often our children are prevented from achieving their full potential because they have inadequate access to preventive and primary health care services. By encouraging school-based health clinics we can help make sure that our children go to school healthy, ready to learn, and that they obtain healthy habits that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.”

Capito said: “School-based health clinics provide a critical service to our young students, particularly in many rural communities where access to care is a key concern. With improved support for school-based clinics, we’re bringing primary health care directly to children and helping create an environment where they can learn and grow.”

More than 8 million children in the United States lack any health insurance coverage and millions more are underinsured. These children all face significant barriers to receiving proper medical and preventive health care. School-based health clinics are effective in bringing critical preventive and primary care to these medically underserved children while additionally decreasing student absences and improving academic performance which is often hindered by poor health.

SBHCs also work to address health-related risks facing children such as school violence, injury, asthma, obesity and tobacco use. Working closely with parents, guardians and school personnel, SBHCs help foster positive behaviors and encourage healthy lifestyles.

About 2 million American children have access to one of the 1700 existing SBHCs in 44 states. The clinics rely primarily on state and local funding, which has proven to be an unstable source of support particularly in this current economic downturn. The legislation would provide a more reliable source of funding through the federal government.

— Emily Kryder is the communications director for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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