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School-based Clinic Expansions

Kentucky Primary Care Association Clinic Members to add Additional School-based Clinics
Four KPCA Members Receive Funds to Expand Services

Frankfort, Ky. (May 4, 2022) The number of school-based clinics in Kentucky is growing. Four Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA) Community Health Center (CHC) members will receive $200,000 each from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to open new school-based primary care programs. The funds will help to expand the school-based clinic operations of A+ Family Healthcare in Brownsville, Big Sandy Health Care in Prestonsburg, Health Help Inc. (White House Clinics) of Mckee, and Shawnee Christian Healthcare of Louisville.

“School-based clinics operated by our members provide essential services to children and teenagers who might not otherwise have access to care.  Many of our clinic members provide multiple services in schools,” said David Bolt, KPCA Chief Executive Officer. “KPCA members provide a combination of primary care, dental, and behavioral health services in more than 250 school health center locations throughout the Commonwealth. Students cannot learn if they are not healthy. Partnerships between our member clinics and schools help keep kids healthy.”

The four Kentucky CHCs are among 125 Health Resources and Services Administration (HHRSA) funded CHCs nationally that will share nearly $25 million in funding announced this week from HHS. The HRSA-funded CHCs deliver comprehensive, high-quality primary health care services to individuals and families through school-based sites in underserved communities.

“When students are healthy, they are able to learn, grow, and thrive,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Our nation’s youth have endured many challenges navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are committed to ensuring they have the support they need. Today we’re investing in school-based health care to meet families where they are and make sure children have easy access to care – including mental health support.”

Health centers will use this funding to reduce disparities and improve access to care by increasing the number of young people receiving essential health care, including mental health services. Health centers will also use these funds for activities such as community and patient outreach, health education, and translation support.

A recent HRSA study published in the American Medical Association’s journal JAMA Pediatrics found that between 2016 and 2020, the number of children ages 3-17 years diagnosed with anxiety grew by 29 percent and those with depression by 27 percent. As HHS recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month in May, this investment will help provide critical mental health services directly to students on site at their schools.

“There is no doubt that the last two years have been challenging for our kids and we need to do all that we can to support their health and well-being,” added HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “By expanding our support for school-based health services, we are creating more opportunities for young people to get the help they need to address both physical and mental health needs that have been overlooked for too long.”

One in nine children in the United States accesses primary health care through a HRSA-funded health center. In 2020, 41 percent of CHCs provided services to children and youth at more than 3,200 school-based sites. In Kentucky, more than 250 individual school clinic sites are operational. 

The full HHS press release is available online at: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/05/03/hhs-awards-nearly-25-million-expand-access-school-based-health-services.html
 

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