SPOKANE, Wash. — A new school-based health center will soon serve the 1,500 students attending John R. Rogers High School in Spokane.
Kaiser Permanente has committed to $590,000 in funding over three years for the clinic run by the Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS). Six neighborhoods in the area surrounding Rogers High have also raised $165,000 in support of the clinic’s creation.
Kaiser Permanente says the health center will provide medical, behavioral and dental health services. It will initially provide care for only students before expanding available services to staff, parents and siblings after hours.
CHAS will also work with Spokane Public Schools’ nursing and mental health therapy programs, Communities in Schools site coordinators and other partners to transform the SBHC into a hub to connect students to services beyond primary care.
According to Kaiser Permanente, school-based health centers are associated with improved educational outcomes, including better attendance, higher grades and a decrease in hospital admissions.
"Access to healthcare for students is critically important to minimizing absenteeism and supporting their academic success," said SPS spokesperson Brian Coddington in a statement to KREM. "The hope is to be able to get students seen by a doctor and quickly back to class, and to be able to catch things before they result in a week of missed school."
The clinic is expected to open to Rogers students by Nov. 1.
Fewer than 2 percent of Washington schools currently have health centers on their campuses, with most of them concentrated in the Puget Sound area, according to Kaiser Permanente.
Nearly 2,000 school-based health centers operate nationwide, according to a 2017 health care census report.