CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Health care providers at nine school-based community health centers in West Virginia are the recipients of about $2 million of $80 million in federal grants to expand basic health care services to children.
“Good health and education are the twin pillars of a productive life,” said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., a senior member of the Congressional Rural Health Caucus. “Our state continues to wisely invest in healthy families by planting health services where they can grow the most, in our schools. The easier it is to see a doctor or a nurse when you’re sick, the quicker you will recover and save money to boot. Add wellness programs and preventive care to the mix, suddenly a whole community will grow healthier. The nation gets healthier, one town at a time, and health care costs go down. That is a sound federal investment.”
The West Virginia grants are among federal awards given to 197 school-based health care programs across the nation. Made available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and announced by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the funds are the third and final round of grants designed to improve access to primary, mental and oral health care for school-aged children.
In West Virginia, the grants will allow the school-based health centers to provide more students with health screenings, health promotion and disease prevention activities, and enable children with acute or chronic illnesses to better manage their conditions at school. Many of the students served at school have no other sources of health care.
“Research proves time and time again that there is a significant link between student health and learning,” said state Superintendent of Schools Chuck Heinlein. “A healthy child does better on tests, has fewer behavior problems and has less absenteeism.”
The following providers received awards to open new centers in Braxton, Doddridge, Hancock, Harrison, Lewis, Pocahontas and Upshur counties:
· Camden-on-Gauley Medical Center, Inc. in Camden-on-Gauley $498,618
· Ritchie County Primary Care Association in Harrisville $500,000
· Community Care of West Virginia in Rock Cave $500,000
· CHANGE, Inc. in Weirton $500,000
“Investing in our children’s health is an investment in our nation’s future, which is why I’ve always fought to improve access to health care for our children,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. “School-based health centers offer vital services to countless children, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay. This award from the health reform law will help school-based health centers keep our kids healthy by providing much-needed access to preventive and primary care.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said, “Investing in health facilities that provide students with basic health care needs – including substance abuse counseling, nutrition education, disease education and mental health care – helps our children reach their fullest potential.”
Data show that school-based health centers help reduce unnecessary and costly emergency room visits, and ensure quality and cost-effective care for children and adolescents. Currently there are more than 1,800 centers nationwide serving more than 1.8 million children. Across West Virginia, 75 school-based health centers provided services to 94 schools in 28 counties. All but three are sponsored by federally qualified health centers.
“School-based health centers are essential to helping children stay healthy,” Heinlein said. “These centers often are the only chance many of our children have to see a doctor or a dentist so that they stay healthy and in school.”
For more information, contact the Office of Communication at (304) 558-2699.