Serrano Announces Funding For School-based Health Clinics

José M. Serrano

June 15, 2007

New York, NY -- State Senator Jose Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx) today announced that two healthcare providers in his district will receive a total of $1,007,601 in grants.

The State Department of Health will administer the grants in support of school-based health clinics, which provide on-site health care services free of charge to students at their local school.

Morris Heights Health Center will receive $351,109. Mount Sinai Hospital will receive $656,492.

"We have for some time needed to reconsider the way health care is delivered. The funding for these school-based health centers demonstrates a commitment to using innovative and cost-effective means to ensure that our children stay healthy and don't have to miss school due to chronic illness," Senator Serrano said.

Governor Spitzer was scheduled to announce the grants today as part of New York State's School-Based Health Center Program. The $13.2 million in total grants to institutions statewide represents a 23 percent increase in funding, according to State Department of Health officials.

Established in 1981, school-based health centers offer primary, preventive and mental health care to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The on-site clinics provide students with qualified physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants under the auspices of a community health-care provider or nearby hospital. All students in the school are eligible for care.

"School-based health clinics are a great way to provide children with the health-care services they need," Governor Spitzer said in a statement. "Children can get their checkups and treatments right in the school without missing classes and without parents needing time off from work. This is very important for children who need treatments or routine tests for their asthma, diabetes and other chronic conditions."

New York State Health Department Commissioner Dr. Richard F. Daines said that about 190,000 children use school-based health clinics each year.

"We have 197 participating schools, with comprehensive programs," Daines said in a statement. "New York's program is based on legislation, with state funds to support the clinics and monitoring by the state Health Department.The program has widespread support, and deservedly so. New York is lucky to have these partnerships between health-care providers and their local schools."

"We now know that these school-based clinics often serve as the front line of defense in medically underserved communities," said Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D-St. Albans), who praised Gov. Eliot Spitzer for his commitment to the school-based clinics. "The school clinics have proven to be effective mechanisms for primary and preventive care."