Senator Breslin Announces Funding For School-based Health Clinics

Neil D. Breslin

June 25, 2007

State Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) today announced that Whitney M. Young Community Health Center will receive a $64,098 grant from the State Department of Health in support of school-based health clinics, which provide on-site health care services free of charge to students at their local school.

"In order for preventive health care measures to work, we must find ways to reach our children as soon as possible, since they benefit most from early intervention," Breslin said in announcing the grant.

"Though we still have a lot of work to do, we've nonetheless made important strides in developing policies that abide by the golden rule of early intervention -- first in passing a budget that broadens eligibility so that all of New York's uninsured have access to coverage and, second, in supporting important programs like school-based health care," said Breslin, Ranking Democrat on the Senate Insurance Committee.

Governor Spitzer was scheduled to announce the grant 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."