Senator Montgomery convenes strategy meeting on School Based Health Centers in New York State

Senator Velmanette Montgomery

October 05, 2017

As a longtime proponent of School Based Health Centers (SBHCs), Senator Montgomery convened a strategy meeting with elected officials, program  providers, principals and advocates to discuss how to maintain the viability of SBHCs in New York State.

New York State has the most SBHCs in the nation and more than 2/3 of all SBHCs are located in New York City. The State’s 252 SBHCs provide primary and preventative care services to over 200,000 children in an environment that is convenient and familiar to them. Over 60% of SBHCs have fulltime mental health services, and many provide dental and vision services. SBHCs enable students to better manage chronic conditions such as asthma and type one diabetes and address on-site medical emergencies.

The youth served by SBHCs are primarily of color (44% served are Hispanic or   Latino & 31% are Black or African American), often from low-income households, many are undocumented and many are uninsured.

SBHCs have made positive impacts on student academic performance, attendance,  graduation rates, health outcomes such as higher vaccination rates and fewer unplanned pregnancies. Children with chronic conditions are hospitalized less and experience fewer complications.

In this year’s budget, the funding for SBHCs was cut by 20% and the methodology to determine how these funds are distributed was changed. Many programs throughout the City were impacted by these drastic cuts. This has had a devastating impact on clinics across the state. Many SBHC sponsors have seen cuts ranging anywhere from 25% to 70%. The largest sponsoring organizations (NYU Lutheran, SUNY Downstate, Mt. Sinai, Northwell and Montefiore) all sustained budget cuts of at least 40%.

The cuts have resulted in real consequences. The four SBHCs sponsored by SUNY Downstate were able to be saved though the SBHC serving students at Francis Scott Key campus will close at the end of the year. While we are fortunate that most SBHCs were able to work with various stakeholders to stay open, this is not a situation that should ever be repeated.

As the 2018-2019 Budget approaches, Senator Montgomery is leading the fight to save SBHCs. The Senator is urging her colleagues in the Senate and Assembly to restore the $3.6 million cut in non-Medicaid funds, pledge to preserve funding levels at $17,098,000 and support legislation to create a permanent Medicaid carve-out for these centers (S6012/A7866). $3.6 million is a drop in the bucket of our state budget yet has wide ranging implications for the children across the state. Our children’s health and wellbeing should be prioritized, yet time and time again they are sacrificed.

On the federal level, health care is being dismantled brick by brick which includes funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers. Senator Montgomery is committed to serving as a voice for young people in the Legislature and to make sure they are prioritized, not put on the chopping block year after year.

Regent Lester Young updates advocates on state education issues.

To learn more about Senator Montgomery's work on School-Based Health Centers, visit:

School Based Health Centers in the 25th Senate District