Colorado Expands School-Based Health Care

From 1994 to 2001, the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment developed ways to remove barriers to the sustainability of school-based health centers (SBHCs), in order to widen access to basic primary physical and mental health services for the state's low-income school-age population.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Making the Grade: State and Local Partnerships to Establish School-Based Health Centers national program.

Key Results

Among the accomplishments of the Making the Grade project in Colorado were the following:

  • The Colorado School-Based Health Initiative awarded implementation grants to three communities to establish new school-based health centers, resulting in the creation of 11 new centers, nine of which remain in operation.
  • By 2001, school-based health centers were operating in 40 sites statewide: 37 offered comprehensive services, and all had community partner sponsorship.
  • Considerable effort was put into negotiating contracts with managed care organizations, but as with many other states, these produced little revenue for school-based health centers.
  • The project director convened a state network that became the Colorado Association for School-Based Health Care, through which providers and sponsors have assumed increasing responsibility for state leadership in nurturing sustainability for school-based health centers.