What is a School-Based Health Center?

What is a School-Based Health Center?

Post Date: Oct 13, 2021

Schools have become all-in-one community centers, catering to all backgrounds and life situations. It only makes sense that these service-oriented centers of learning would incorporate other elements of wellness too, in the form of school-based health centers. But what exactly are these clinics? And how can they benefit all members of the community? Let’s break it down.

What exactly is a school-based health center?

A school-based health center brings healthcare straight to the community via in-building clinics. Services are often available not just to students, but to family members and staff too. It makes sense to have these services available right in schools, since that’s where students spend the majority of their time at an age when it’s easy for some conditions to go unnoticed or untreated without easy access to medical care.

What services do they provide?

There isn’t a limit on the types of services a school-based health center can bring forward. This can include branches of healthcare tying into physical and mental health, vision, and dental. They can provide a way to manage chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and behavioral health conditions. Available services can range from services as basic as primary medical care, on up to substance abuse aid or nutrition counseling.

Offerings will depend on the resources of the school, community and partner healthcare providers. They also typically offer sports physicals, vaccines, and lab work too, setting students up for success from the start.

Why are school-based health centers beneficial?

Healthier community members make for a healthier community, and that starts with equal access to healthcare. Students of all income backgrounds and family situations can take advantage of a clinic set up in their school, and they usually take most forms of insurance while providing a sliding fee scale for those who meet income requirements.

When kids have a school-based health center right where they learn, they don’t have to miss out on as much learning time when they need to seek medical care. And parents won’t have to skip work to get their child’s health concerns taken care of proactively. Preventative care can easily fall by the wayside when balancing busy schedules and difficult-to-afford providers. By having affordable care accessible to all in the school, we can cut down some of the barriers to getting the medical support needed for a thriving community.

Where can I find one?

The Belgrade Middle School Panther Clinic is a partnership between the Belgrade School District and Community Health Partners to bring accessible and affordable healthcare to the families and school district faculty and staff in Belgrade. It’s open to all students in the Belgrade School District of any age as well as their family members (parents, step-parents, siblings, grandparents) to provide top-quality care from nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified medical assistants. The clinic is open most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the school day from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Right now, the Panther Clinic is offering free sports physicals to students so they can affordably prepare for sports this school year. The easiest way to make an appointment and take advantage of this free service is to call the clinic directly at (406) 924-2478.

Get involved in preventative care and community-minded health at the Panther Clinic, or get in touch with another CHP clinic for affordable and accessible medical care in your neighborhood. Trained professionals can answer your questions, offer options and show you the care you need to promote a healthy lifestyle.