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Merging School and Health Care

Here's something you probably didn't know: February is National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month.

To commemorate their 28 days, school-based health centers around the nation (of which there are more than 1,900) are inviting local and federal policymakers to tour their facilities, according to the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care. In Maryland, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes visited a school-based health center in Baltimore County and said the expansion of these facilities is the ultimate goal, reports WBAL.

School-based health centers resemble any other health center: They have a full team of providers who offer physical and mental counseling and services. But they are free of charge and accept students regardless of their insurance (or lack thereof), reports UpNorthLive.com.

Within two months after adding a health center to the building, high schools see a significant reduction in absenteeism and tardiness, according to an NASBHC press release. In addition, students who used the center's mental health services gradually increased their GPAs.

One of the biggest obstacles to school-based health centers is funding, which usually comes from the local or state government, according to the assembly's website. When health officials emphasized the need for funding to Congressman Sarbanes, he dodged discussing finances and said, "We can always talk about getting resources into the picture."

Somewhat similarly, the governor of Oregon just recently proposed the creation of a computer system to combine data from various state agencies—such as schools, medical offices, and social services—so doctors can predict which children may struggle in school and refer them to support systems.

Is the merging of education and health services the future?

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