MASBHC Secures Most Significant Legislative Advancement For School-Based Health Care In Decades

The Maryland Assembly on School-Based Health Care (MASBHC) led a successful campaign to secure a huge step forward in funding for school-based health centers and school health in the 2019 legislative session.  In the just enacted Senate Bill 1030 – The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the Maryland General Assembly has set aside approximately $50 million over the next two years for school-based health centers and school health for schools with a high concentration of poverty. Each qualified school will receive $248,000 for community school coordinators and primary care clinicians in school-based health centers and school health roles. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his review and signature.

The 2019 legislation is just a down payment.  MASBHC has paved the way for additional funding expected in 2020 legislation.  That funding could potentially quadruple the state’s investment in school-based health center grants. “MASBHC has been cultivating the Maryland General Assembly’s commitment to school-based health centers and school health initiatives, and our hard work has paid off.  I’ve never seen this level of interest and investment in school-based health centers. It is unprecedented,” said Dr. Patryce Toye, President of MASBHC.

MASBHC saw an opening to advocate for additional resources with the establishment of the Kirwan Commission, also known as the Maryland Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education, in 2017.  The Commission has been evaluating the need for additional K-12 education funding. “MASBHC recognized the opportunity right away to highlight the importance of school-based health centers in education,” says Donna Behrens, Chair of MASBHC’s Policy Committee.  “We have been working on the ground since Day 1 to secure this victory. Our thanks goes to the many members of MASBHC who helped make this happen.”

Please stay tuned.  MASBHC will be providing opportunities to learn more about the 2019 victory and plans for 2020.  If you would like be a part of MASBHC’s ongoing work, please join our Kirwan Action Committee by notifying Rachael Faulkner at (410) 693-4000 or rfaulkner@policypartners.net.

MASBHC closes the 2019 session with condolences to the family and community of Speaker Mike Busch, as we mourn his passing on Sunday.   Speaker Busch left Maryland a better place with his legacy of commitment to health care access and education for all Marylanders.

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Telemedicine In Howard County featured in the Washington Post

School nurse Veronica DeSimone uses telemedicine equipment to connect doctors with students who are ill. (Courtesy of The Pew Charitable Trusts) — Picture from WashingtonPost.com

 

An article featured last month in the Washington Post, highlights the impact telemedicine has had on schools in Howard County. Telemedicine programs in the following Howard County elementary schools are considered a nontraditional school-based health center: Phelps Luck, Bryant Wood, Running Brook, Stevens Forest, Talbott Springs, and Ducketts Lane Elementary Schools. The program has allowed for quicker diagnosis, given providers the opportunity to prescribe medicine on the spot, and have allowed children return to class almost immediately, given their conditions are not contiguous or require additional follow up.

Last year, the six Howard County schools conducted 150 telemedicine exams. Midway through this year, the total was 87. In 98 percent of the cases, (not including those involving who contagious illnesses or conditions that couldn’t be treated through telemedicine), the students immediately returned to class. — The Washington Post

MASBHC has been following the progress of the telemedicine program in Howard County and are excited to see it getting the coverage it deserves.

For the article in its entirety please click here.

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New School Year and a Healthier Northwood High

As the new school year is upon us, schools across the state are making changes to become healthier environments for their students. At Northwood High School, as part of their Hallways to Health initiative, they have removed all the vending machines from the campus that were making high caloric, unhealthy snacks readily available to students. This is a huge success that reiterates to students the importance of healthy eating. Northwood’s student body is large and so diverse that being able to reach them at this population level is a huge success.

The Principal, Ms.Charley-Greene, has been a leader in health and wellness in Northwood High School. For the upcoming school year she has removed the candy, snack and soda vending machines from the halls. Students will be eating healthier lunches and after school snacks. — Kay Sophar, Northwood High SBHC Nurse Practitioner

In addition to the removal of the vending machines, Northwood’s SBHC is also working towards expanding a pilot breakfast program that they have had much success initiating during the 2015-16 school year. Northwood addressed absenteeism with a pilot in-class breakfast program through a partnership with Nourish Now. As a result of the pilot breakfast program during the 2015-16 school year, students had a recognizable increase in energy, they began to arrive earlier to class, and there was an improvement in their grades. Northwood’s SBHC is working on expanding the breakfast program to include additional classrooms and reach more students.

Northwood SBHC Staff for the 2015-16 School Year

Northwood SBHC Staff

Way to go Northwood! Good luck for the 2016-17 school year!

If your SBHC has a success story they would like to share, please email Sapna Hencinski at shencinski.masbhc@gmail.com

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