October 4, 2019

2 school-based health centers for students in Washington

With 3 years of funding from Kaiser Permanente, 2 Washington schools will open new clinics to serve their students.

Kaiser Permanente is funding 2 new school-based health centers in Washington state, giving students access to physical, mental, and dental health care.

School-based health centers have been associated with improved educational outcomes, including better attendance and higher grades, as well as decreased emergency department use and hospital admissions. John R. Rogers High School in Spokane, Washington, and Bethel Middle School in Spanaway, Washington, will now have their own school-based health centers thanks to Community Health Association of Spokane and Community Health Care, both with funding from Kaiser Permanente.

“Kaiser Permanente knows from research and experience that education and health are connected. Access to high-quality education in an environment that fosters learning contributes to a longer, healthier life,” said Sally Yates, vice president and regional counsel of Kaiser Permanente in Washington. “We also know that many in our schools don’t have access to vitally needed services, including mental health and counseling services. School-based health centers provide equitable, immediate access to services for the entire school community — teachers and students alike — and we’re delighted to be able to join with community partners to strengthen and expand this successful model in Washington.”

CHAS and CHC will create health centers that provide medical, behavioral health, and dental services on the schools’ campuses.

“Community Health Care has long dreamt of reducing barriers to health care for children and youth through school-based health centers. Thanks to the caring and committed partners we have found in Kaiser Permanente and the Bethel School District, that dream will be realized this year,” said Debbie Jacobson, assistant director of operations for Community Health Care.

“It does not matter if an illness is related to medical, dental, or behavioral health needs — sick children cannot learn,” Jacobson continued. “With the planning and start-up grants from Kaiser Permanente, we are now able to launch the first of many school-based health centers that will improve the health and academic success of local students.”

Currently fewer than 2% of Washington’s schools have health centers on their campuses, most of them concentrated in King County.

Both clinics are expected to open to students by November 1, 2019. Kaiser Permanente’s 3-year, $1.2 million commitment will provide start-up funding for the facilities, which will be staffed by CHAS or CHC caregivers.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to provide primary care including preventive, chronic, and acute services to the hard-working students of Rogers High School,” said William Lockwood, MD, chief clinical officer of CHAS. “We feel this endeavor is a perfect illustration of our mission to expand health care access, while also displaying our core values of social responsibility and respect for human dignity.”