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 FQHC Linkage with SBHCs

Another school shooting in the news…it happens all too frequently.  Shootings, homicide, suicide, cutting, substance abuse – these are school issues of the day.  No school, public or private, urban or rural or suburban, is immune.  School-age children and adolescents at almost all grade levels are affected by, not only physical health issues, but behavioral health issues as well. 


Is there one set answer to address what is happening to our youth?  No.  But clearly, a collaborative, community-based approach starting from the school system/board/district down through the principal with their full support, can assist in “making a difference.” And the trust and buy-in by the school nurse cannot be underestimated. 


Contemporary Health Care, Inc. successfully works with FQHCs, other healthcare providers, and school systems/boards/districts in creating linkages and partnerships regarding collaboration to develop school-based health centers (SBHC) and to enhance school health services – we have performed 15 such projects (“core” school plus feeder schools) in the past few years.  They involve a carefully mapped-out planning process including strategic, financial, and operational planning commencing with a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the partner organizations and culminating in an implementation plan based on a Notice of Award (NOA) from HRSA, which is predicated on approval of a formal change in scope (CIS) request document. 


Clearly, HRSA has supported integration of primary care and behavioral health, as well as SBHC development.  However, while a SBHC cannot be a Section 330 FQHC on its own, SBHCs and school health services can be successfully linked up with an FQHC that shares a common mission of improving health outcomes of school-age children and adolescents and ensuring that they are able to achieve their fullest potential. 


The case for more SBHCs and school health services is more important now than it has ever been before.   Linking up with an FQHC to provide primary care, behavioral, and/or dental health services based on specific school and student needs, along with providers, support staff and service availability, can improve access for a “captured” population in a safe, secure, and convenient setting – the school. 


Moreover, a school/FQHC linkage can be the cornerstone in addressing the social determinants of health and diversity for school-age children and adolescents.  Physical and behavioral health conditions are traceable to the conditions in which people live.  Social factors such as prejudice, poverty, income inequality, and lack of diversity carry the greatest impact on population health outcomes and contribute to health disparities, including those directly impacting school-age children and adolescents.


Healthy students lead to healthy outcomes and, critical to the school’s educators, this leads to reduced absenteeism, meaning students stay in schools and have a better chance to achieve their fullest potential.  Our SBHC and school health services projects put an FQHC together with the school to create a seamless linkage, and their collaboration is implemented in a cost-effective, efficient manner, within 120 days of receipt of the NOA from HRSA. Generally, the FQHC SBHC collaborations are implemented at the beginning of a school year, or during the summer months in order for the FQHC to also provide athletic and band physicals to returning students.


If you would like to explore how Contemporary Health Care, Inc. can assist your organization with implementing or enhancing existing SBHC services, please call us at 732-974-7200 or 504-561-0805 for more details and visit us on the web at


Contact us, and we'll be happy to tell you exactly how we can address your particular institutional situation.