The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of $75 million in funding for the construction and renovation of school-based health centers.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement at a Healthy Schools Campaign and Trust for America’s Health event on Wednesday. The new investments are part of the School-Based Health Center Capital (SBHCC) Program, which was created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
School-based health centers are an important component of the country’s healthcare safety net. The centers enable children with acute or chronic illnesses to attend school, as well as help to improve the overall health and wellness of children and adolescents through health screenings, health promotion and disease prevention activities. By making the connection to healthcare easy, school-based health centers ensure that children have access to the services they need to lead healthy lives.
“President Obama’s healthcare law is helping keep kids healthy and as a mother, I know how important a child’s health is to how they do in school. Whether establishing a new site or upgrading an existing facility, the availability of funding for school-based health centers that we’re announcing will help kids more easily get the health services they need to thrive,” said Sebelius in a press release. “The goal is to keep our children healthy so they can learn, grow and prosper.”
The ACA appropriated $200 million for the SBHCC Program to address capital needs in school-based health centers between 2010 and 2013. The funding opportunity announced Wednesday is the third in a series of awards that will be made available to school-based health centers through the ACA. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) oversees the SBHCC Program.
“It is critical for children and adolescents to be healthy so they can maximize their potential, and being healthy starts with access to primary and preventive care,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield in a written statement. “These grants will greatly improve that access and help make our children and America’s future strong.”