09 Sep Back to School: The Important Role Community Health Centers Play in Children’s Health
September 30 marks the end of the fiscal year, and the deadline for Congress to renew the Community Health Center Fund. Unless Congress passes a bill by the end of the month that renews this key source of funding, health centers risk losing access to the vital funds that allow them to provide affordable, accessible, high-quality care to communities across the nation.
Throughout the month of September, we will be discussing the importance of health centers and their contributions to communities throughout the United States.
As back-to-school season comes into full swing, parents are scheduling their children for annual physicals and making sure everyone is healthy and ready to begin classes. It is estimated that in 2019, 8.7 million children received health care services from their local health centers. Every day, families across the country rely on Community Health Centers to provide key services for children including immunizations, weight assessments and nutrition counseling, and childhood lead screenings. These services not only keep students healthy and showcase the value of America’s Health Centers, they also reduce health-related absences and improve outcomes in the classroom.
Health centers have been shown to save 35 percent per child when compared to other medical providers. Because children are constantly growing and developing, they are in need of more medical attention than the average adult. School-based health centers offer a way for communities to save money, co-locate important services, and guarantee children access to necessary health care just steps away from their classrooms.
Every child, no matter their background or economic status, deserves access to the quality, comprehensive health care services that health centers provide. Community Health Centers make this a possibility for medically-underserved, rural, and frontier communities across the country; however, they rely on federal funding. If the Community Health Center Fund is not renewed by September 30, health centers will suffer a cut that represents just over 70 percent of their federal funding. This would not only threaten the future of many of the programs health centers provide, but would jeopardize the health of children, students, and families in communities across the United States.
Urge your Members of Congress to pass long-term, sustainable funding for Community Health Centers before the end of September. It is essential to the success of these programs and the health of our children. Now is our time to act.