School-Based Health Centers — A Vital Tool for Supporting Healthy Youth


(Mosaic pediatrician Dr. Jasmine Low connects with two of her young patients during a visit | Photo courtesy of Mosaic Community Health)

As a community, what can we do to support the health and well-being of our young people? Proven, vital tools in this effort are School-Based Health Centers (SBHC). SBHCs are located within schools or on school grounds and provide a full range of physical, behavioral and preventative health services. Care is offered in easily accessible, youth-friendly environments, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. Reducing barriers to care such as cost, transportation and concerns about confidentiality provides youth in our community with an equal opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

“School-Based Health Centers play a vital role in our schools and communities,” said Tamarra Harris, pediatric clinic manager at Mosaic. “They reduce barriers to accessing quality care, including providing easier access for families, which reduces absenteeism and time away from work.”

Last year 90 percent of youth seeking services at SBHCs in Oregon were able to get an appointment immediately for the care they needed. Three-quarters of those youth were unlikely to have received care that day without a SBHC. Improving access to affordable, quality primary care and mental health services for school-aged youth is one of the primary goals of SBHCs, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Other SBHC goals include:

  • Providing patient-centered care for all students, regardless of insurance status
  • Reducing costs related to unnecessary hospital stays and use of emergency rooms
  • Improving education outcomes — because healthy kids learn better
  • Saving parents time by reducing hours of missed work to transport children to appointments

Utilizing unique public-private partnerships, SBHCs have been operating in the state of Oregon since 1986. There are currently 85 certified SBHCs across Oregon — Mosaic and our school district and county health partners operate six of those in Central Oregon, including at Bend High, Mountain View High, Madras High, Redmond High, Lynch Elementary and Crook Kids in Prineville. La Pine Community Health Center operates one SBHC in La Pine. “Through our strong partnerships and community support we are able to provide full service, youth-focused care in a youth-friendly space where our students and families live, work and play,” said Harris.

In addition to medical and behavioral health care, providers at Mosaic SBHCs emphasize prevention, early intervention, risk reduction and the development of healthy habits with their young patients. Mosaic SBHCs are open to anyone from birth through age 18, patients do not need to be a student at the school where the SBHC is located.

Mosaic is currently raising funds to support Redmond SBHCs, located at Redmond High and Lynch Elementary. These two SBHCs currently serve nearly 1,500 youth annually. Three-quarters of these patients are from low-income households, and many are uninsured or “under-insured” with minimal medical coverage and high deductibles. 17 patients who received care at Redmond SBHCs in the last year are houseless. The care provided at SBHCs is vital for these youth and their families, and we are asking for your support to ensure a healthy future for our community. • 541-323-3860 •


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