January 31, 2012
To: Education Committee
From: Aubrey Mancuso, Policy Coordinator
RE: Support for LB 1020 , the Nebraska Coordinated School Health Act
Voices for Children supports LB 1020 to expand the availability of school-based health centers with a particular emphasis on medically underserved areas and schools with high populations of low-income students. A child’s health is critical to educational participation. Health provides the foundation for school readiness, academic success and overall child well-being. Continuous access to quality and affordable care should not be a privilege but a guarantee for all children in our state. School-based health centers will increase access to care and improve the health of children in Nebraska. We believe that school-based health centers can attend to unmet physical and emotional health needs that may create barriers to learning for children. School-based health centers:
- Have been shown to reduce Medicaid costs, specifically in emergency room expenditures[i]
- Have been shown to increase the availability of preventative care[ii]
- Can be especially effective venues for helping children and families manage chronic illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes[iii]
- Can increase access to health care for children in low-income and underserved areas of the state
- Can increase access to mental health and dental care for children
- Can help to keep children healthy and ready to learn
LB 1020 is a step toward ensuring more children in our state are able to access the physical and behavioral health care they need. We urge the committee to advance LB 1020. Thank you.
[i] Kathleen Adams and Veda Vohnson, “An Elementary School-Based Health Clinic: Can it Reduce Medicaid Costs?” Pediatrics, 2000, April 105, pages 780-788.
[iii] Mina Silberberg and Joel C. Cantor, “Making the Case for School-Based Health: Where Do We Stand?” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Vol. 33, No. 1, February 2009, p. 33.