The first and only nationwide recognition program for school-based health centers — a concept developed in part by the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) — has been approved by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
The School-Based Medical Home (SBMH) recognition program honors excellence in school-based health centers, setting the industry standard for coordinated care. Its ultimate objective is to ensure the highest quality care for underserved children and adolescents.
More than 2,300 school-based health centers across 49 states provide primarily low-income students with medical, mental health, vision, and dental care they might otherwise be unable to access. By operating out of a safe and familiar location — the school building — these centers ensure that students are able to receive the care they need to thrive in school and life.
PCDC, in partnership with Montefiore School Health Program and New York School-Based Health Alliance (NYSBHA), developed and piloted the school-based standards. This collaboration began in 2013 and was generously funded by the Altman Foundation.
“This is a tremendous breakthrough for school-based health providers,” said Margaret Rogers, DNP, of Montefiore School Health Program, who also serves as NYSBHA’s past chair. “The School-Based Medical Home Standards will benefit both the students, who will be receiving high-quality care, and the providers, who will gain recognition and potential reimbursement enhancement for the outstanding work they are doing to take care of our young people.”
“This was an outstanding collaboration between three organizations that have contributed a lot to quality primary care,” said Ronda Kotelchuck, founder and former CEO of PCDC. “They recognized an important opportunity to improve school-based health care, and used their considerable expertise to come up with a solution for NCQA to consider.”
The SBMH recognition program evaluates school-based health centers’ performance, quality of care to students, and their value to the larger community. To be recognized, school-based health centers must demonstrate that they meet NCQA’s core and elective guidelines. Centers can learn more about the application process here.
Since NCQA’s release of the first PCMH Standards and Guidelines in 2008, PCDC has supported 450 primary care practices to successfully transform and become PCMH-recognized as medical homes. It is one of the first organizations in the country to have assisted school-based health center practices to achieve PCMH recognition under the NCQA PCMH 2014 Standards. Read more here.