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 [email protected].
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.