School-based health centers make getting healthcare easy for students because they do not have to leave school and do not need medical insurance to receive services. The centers also allow students to take care of their health needs so they are better able to learn. As of September 2010, there are 2 school-based health centers in the state.
A range of primary care, behavioral and oral health services are available to students. The health centers are staffed by nurse practitioners, a registered nurse with additional training and education who practices independently, under the guidance of a physician. School based health center staff work closely with school personnel and health providers in the community health center.
School based health centers are open during school hours and provide coverage 24 hours, 7 days a week through the health center that operates them.
Students need permission to visit the health center. Parents can register their children with the school based health center as the primary care provider with their managed care plan.
By Rhode Island state law, all students can seek emergency medical care; diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV; examination for physical or sexual abuse; and substance abuse counseling, confidentially and without parental consent.
Counseling is provided to students receiving these services, including guidance in discussing health concerns with parents whenever appropriate.
School based health centers are supported by federal grants, community providers, school departments, third party reimbursement from RIte Care Medicaid managed care and other health insurers, and some state legislative funds. The new health care reform legislation recently passed by the federal government includes opportunities for funding new school based health center sites.