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School-Based Health Centers: Increasing Access to Healthcare for Children and Teens

January 14, 2019

Accessing health care for school-aged children can be complicated. Many doctors offer appointments during the school day resulting in lost classroom time and parents missing work. School-based health centers make going to the doctor as easy as walking down the hall. Staffed by providers and nurses, the school-based health centers provide students with access to a range of services for acute and preventative care. This model limits barriers to routine healthcare including transportation and parent work schedules and grants students a sense of responsibility for their own health.

BMS provides school-based healthcare to over 4,300 students in eight public schools located in Baltimore’s underserved neighborhoods. Our school-based health centers provide kids and teens access to a full range of healthcare, including pharmacy services and free prescription delivery to many zip codes. School-based health has made significant strides decreasing or avoiding asthma attacks for students, leading to improved school attendance and performance. School-based health services can significantly impact adolescent health. Our behavioral health services offer young people the support they need for drug or alcohol problems and mental health by providing convenient and confidential care in a familiar setting. BMS has observed a reduction in teen pregnancy with increased access to family planning and pregnancy prevention education in our school-based health centers.

Our presence means more than a quick checkup. We offer genuine, passionate support to children in need – our relationships with them often begin in early childhood and continue through graduation. Our target is to expand our behavioral health capabilities through telehealth and to address the rising rate of childhood obesity. Improving health outcomes for our students helps them do better in school – a solid investment in our young people and the City’s future.

Baltimore City children have an asthma prevalence more than twice the national average – 20% vs. 9.4%, respectively.

– Baltimore City Health Department

BMS is deeply committed to improving health, wellness and the quality of life in the communities we serve by providing safe, high quality, accessible and affordable healthcare. Read more about the progress we have made in our 2017 Annual Report!