New Health Center Coming to Bethel Middle School

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With three years of funding from Kaiser Permanente, Community Health Care will open a new clinic to serve Spanaway students

SPANAWAY – School-based health centers have been associated with improved educational outcomes including better attendance and higher grades as well as decreased emergency department use and Kaiserhospital admissions. Now, Spanaway’s Bethel Middle School will get its very own school-based health center to serve its students along with students at Shining Mountain Elementary School and Bethel High School, thanks to Community Health Care with funding from Kaiser Permanente.

“Kaiser Permanente knows from research and experience that education and health are connected: access to high-quality education in an environment that fosters learning contributes to a longer, healthier life,” said Sally Yates, Vice President of Kaiser Permanente Washington. “We also know that many in our schools don’t have access to vitally needed services, including mental health and counseling services. School-based health centers provide equitable, immediate access to services for the entire school community – teachers and students alike — and we’re delighted to be able to join with community partners to strengthen and expand this successful model in Washington.”

CHC will create a health center that provides medical, behavioral health, and dental services on the campus.  It has the support of the county health department, the school and district, and the Washington School-based Health Alliance.

“Community Health Care has long dreamt of reducing barriers to health care for children and youth through school-based health centers. Thanks to the caring and committed partners that we have found in Kaiser Permanente and the Bethel School District, that dream will be realized this year,” said Debbie Jacobson, Assistant Director of Operations for Community Health Care.

“It does not matter if an illness is related to medical, dental or behavioral health needs – sick children cannot learn. As an experienced and mission-driven healthcare provider, Community Health Care is ideally placed to meet these needs, regardless of a child’s circumstances,” Jacobson continued. “With the planning and start-up grants from Kaiser Permanente, we are now able to launch the first of many school-based health centers that will improve the health and academic success of local students. The start-up grant has enabled us to build the SBHC in a way that best maximizes the space and allows room for year-round, comprehensive health support to as many students possible.”

The clinic is expected to open to students this fall by October. In addition to Kaiser Permanente’s 3-year, $590,000 commitment, CHC is investing in the health center and will provide a greater portion of funding in the future. 

Currently fewer than 2% of Washington’s schools have health centers on their campuses, most of them concentrated in King County.

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