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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

School-based health centers improving access for youth: School settings a boon to student health

From the Nation’s Health ( April 2011, vol. 41 no. 3 , pp 1-20)

During a recent office visit, Robert Wolverton, MD, provided a young woman with emergency contraceptives, helped her restart regular birth control, evaluated a rash she was concerned about and investigated the cause of her ear pain.

Some doctors discourage patients from discussing multiple problems during one appointment, Wolverton said, but that recent patient was like many he sees at the Teen Wellness Center at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va. She had health concerns and she wanted to handle them quickly and confidentially….

…Nationwide, the number of school-based health centers is climbing, according to Linda Juszczak, DNSc, MPH, MS, CPNP, executive director of the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care. The City of Alexandria has had a wellness center for adolescents for more than a decade, but the previous center was located in a trailer off school property that students had a hard time accessing, Wolverton said….

The new center is one of more than 1,900 school-based health centers nationally operating in 48 states and territories. Such centers provide access to primary health care, mental health services, immunizations, sexually transmitted disease testing and a host of other services to about 2 million children and youth, regardless of ability to pay.

The centers are an attractive option for young patients seeking health care, as no patient will be turned away because she or he is not able to pay, said Terri Wright, MPH, director of APHA’s Center for School, Health and Education. In some places, school-based health centers open their doors to adults during non-school hours and bill third-party payers for their care as a way to make ends meet, Wright said.

The growth of school-based health centers such as the one in Alexandria may speed up in the near future, thanks to the health reform law passed last year.


April 9, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment


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