SHERBURNE – In 2012, Bassett Healthcare Network’s School-Based Health Program expects to handle over 26,000 student visits at its 19 school-based health centers (SBHCs). The majority of those visits will be for primary care, but 30 percent will be mental health visits. That statistic may be surprising to some, and it’s one Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Philip Heavner shared with Congressman Richard Hanna recently when he visited Bassett’s school-based health centers in the Sherburne-Earlville School District. Last year, Bassett’s school-based health (SBH) staff handled 4,000 visits in the Sherburne-Earlville schools.
“Providing health care in school means that more children are getting care than otherwise might simply because it’s so easily accessed,” explains Dr. Heavner. “If SBH wasn’t available, there would be children who wouldn’t get primary care as often as they need it and many who wouldn’t get mental health care at all. We know this because we’ve been providing school-based health for decades, and many of the families that utilize our services are under or uninsured and others simply find it challenging to get to a doctor in this rural region.”