Delaware Congressional Delegation Announces $500,000 for School-Based Health Centers

WILMINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.) congratulated Affinity Health and Medical Systems, Inc. on receiving a $500,000 grant in federal funding for the School-Based Health Center Capital Program to expand school-based health centers’ capacity and modernize their facilities.

Affinity Health and Medical System, Inc. has provided project management over projects that target the African-American, Latino, at-risk and underserved populations of New Castle County, Del. since its inception in 2003. Affinity Health and Medical Systems, Inc. is a collaboration of more than 50 local physicians, physician groups, health care providers, health care organizations and businesses that have joined together to provide services to government, private, educational, non-profit, correctional facilities, and at-risk populations in Delaware.

The organization will use this grant toward telehealth technology and video conferencing technology to support the provision of primary, behavioral and specialty care to at least 700 students at school-based health centers. This technology includes the establishment of a “hub” site for services at Affinity Health and Medical System, Inc. main headquarters and three telehealth-capable School Based Health Centers at Prestige Academy, Kuumba Academy and East Side Charter School in Wilmington, Del.

“One of the best things we can do to establish a good foundation for our children’s health now and in the future is to provide access to health care at an early age,” said Sen. Tom Carper. “This funding will help those that provide care able to do so for more students. Creating better access to care and giving work to more people to help do so make this funding a win-win for Delaware.”

“Providing children with easy access to basic health services is essential to keeping them healthy and productive,” Senator Coons said. “Our schools are a place where our children spend a majority of their time and this funding will help monitor our children’s habits and respond quickly to emergencies. As a father of three school-age children, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the health of our young people. Thanks to this funding, we will be better able to protect and prevent illness from occurring in the first place.

“Giving children access to quality medical care at a young age helps them grow into healthy, responsible adults,” said Congressman Carney. “Schools play an important role in both the academic and personal development of students. This funding will help modernize school health facilities to ensure that our children receive the care they need to be successful in school and beyond.”

This grant, made possibly by the Affordable Care Act, was one of a number of grants awarded to 45 school-based health centers across the country allowing the number of children served to increase by nearly 50 percent. Clinics receiving the awards are already providing much-needed health care services to 112,000 children. This grant will enable clinics nationwide to expand their capacity and modernize their facilities, which will allow them to treat an estimated additional 53,000 children in 29 states.

School-based health centers enable children with acute or chronic illnesses to attend school, and improve the overall health and wellness of all children through health screenings, health promotion and disease prevention activities. Typically, a school-based clinic provides a combination of primary care, mental health care, substance abuse counseling, case management, dental health, nutrition education, health education and health promotion activities.

The Affordable Care Act provides $200 million in funding from 2010 – 2013 for the School-Based Health Center Capital Program to address significant and pressing capital needs and to improve delivery and support expansion of services at school-based health centers.