School-Based Health Centers

What are school-based health centers (SBHCs)?

SBHCs are health clinics that bring preventive and immediate care, as well as counseling, health education and sometimes dental care, to children and adolescents at school. The community determines which services are provided, based on students’ needs. All our SBHCs are satellite clinics of Yale New Haven Hospital and are fully licensed outpatient health facilities. They are staffed by YNHH pediatric and adolescent health specialists, including nurse practitioners, social workers and a consulting medical director. SBHC staff works closely with school nurses and key school support staff to identify and treat student health issues. 

Types of services provided

Health center staff work to build cultural sensitivity into all the services they provide. Services include: 

Medical 

  • Comprehensive health exams 
  • Diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions 
  • Routine management of chronic conditions 
  • Immunizations and laboratory testing 
  • Preventive services 
  • Health education and promotion 
  • Referrals and coordination of outside services such as X-rays, dental work and other services not available at the SBHCs 

Behavioral health 

  • Mental health awareness and outreach, including suicide prevention 
  • Depression screening 
  • Behavioral health care, including assessment, treatment, referral and crisis intervention 
  • Individual, group and family therapy 
  • Case management 
  • Social service assessment, referral and follow up as needed 

Prevention

  • Health promotion and risk-reduction programs, including education to encourage healthy lifestyles, healthy eating and exercise 
  • Health education 

Who can use SBHC services?

All students enrolled in SBHCs are encouraged to use the services. After parents or guardians complete and sign a permission form to enroll their child, the child or adolescent can receive medical or mental health services free of charge.

SBHCs are not intended to replace the family's primary care provider. Health care provided at SBHCs is in addition to care provided by doctors and mental health providers in the community. All families benefit from the presence of a SBHC in their school.

Benefits of SBHCs

  • Increase access to care and reduce barriers to care
  • Decrease absenteeism and tardiness
  • Reduce inappropriate emergency room use
  • Work with primary care and emergency department providers to reduce duplication of services
  • Provide care in addition to a student’s primary care and community providers
  • Can be the primary care provider for some students

Are there any fees for using SBHC services?

The SBHC provides mental health and medical care at no cost to families in a convenient, confidential setting. There are no charges for care received at the health center. The SBHC is funded by the Connecticut State Department of Public Health and is a partnership between the boards of education in participating towns and Yale New Haven Hospital.