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HARRISBURG, April 27, 2022 – State Senator Katie Muth (D- Berks/Chester/Montgomery), chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, joined Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) to host a virtual hearing yesterday to discuss expanding School Based Health Centers in Pennsylvania.

“School-Based Health Centers are proven successful across the country – but sufficient funding is needed to ensure that our all of kids have access to this evidence-based model of care that has proven positive health and academic outcomes in communities across our Commonwealth where students are suffering from unmet needs,” Muth said. “Our hearing shed a much-needed spotlight on the need to make SBHCs a priority in our budget negotiations.”

School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) are designed to improve the health and academic success of students by increasing access to care for both students and their families. Through screenings, preventative care, and acute illness treatment, SBHC staff provide a full range of primary, mental, behavioral, and dental health services.

“Since we do not have healthcare to cover everyone, these School-Based Health Centers fill a critical gap in access to healthcare,” Haywood added.

According to the Pennsylvania School-Based Health Alliance, there are currently 33 SBHCs in PA serving students in predominantly low-income Title One schools and communities. There are SBHCs in Erie, Harrisburg, York, Chambersburg, Scranton, Philadelphia and Allentown serving more than 17,500 students.

“School-based health centers remove barriers to care while improving overall student health and academic success, directly addressing disparities lower income students and students of color often face,” Senator Maria Collett said. “As a nurse and a parent, this seems like a no-brainer, and as a legislator, I’ll continue to push for the funding necessary to expand school-based healthcare access so students across our Commonwealth can thrive.”

The hearing featured two panels of testimony from advocates and professionals in education, health care, and public policy. Participants in the virtual hearing included Julie Cousler Emig, Executive Director, Pennsylvania School-Based Health Alliance; Dr. Michael Colli, Chief Medical Officer, Keystone Health; Jenny Englerth, President & CEO, Family First Health; Robert Boyd, President, School-Based Health Alliance; Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Director, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and Medical Director, Community and Population Health at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; and Dr. Simon Haeder, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Penn State University.

All submitted testimony from the policy hearing and the full video is available at SenatorMuth.com/Policy

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Testimony

Panel 1: The Current State of School Based Health Centers in Pennsylvania 

Panel 2: Outside Perspectives on School Based Health Centers

Additional Remarks