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Rep. Howard Berman Votes NO on Bill That Could Limit Access to Health Care for Thousands of Young Valley Residents

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Howard L. Berman (CA-28) voted against a Republican bill to repeal School Based Health Center Capital grants for construction, renovation and equipment of school based health centers. Without these grants, local Valley School Based Health Centers (SBHC) may be forced to turn away young people in need of health care services. Three such centers are run by the Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC), and include the Sun Valley Health Center at Sun Valley Middle School; the Maclay Health Center for Children at Maclay Middle School in Pacoima; and the Teen Health Center at San Fernando High School.

"School Based Health Centers provide vital services that directly help local children, and in turn have a positive impact on our local communities," said Congressman Howard L. Berman. "Cutting off critical funding to these school based clinics would be a tremendous mistake that could leave local children without access to primary health care services. This legislation is a misguided attempt that will leave our most vulnerable without the care and support they need to develop and succeed."

"Our school based clinics are cost effective alternatives to emergency rooms and they help our community health center extend its reach into a community by putting services right where they are needed most by kids," said Kimberly Wyard, CEO of Northeast Valley Health Corporation. "School health centers provide access to care and the School Based Health Center Capital Program provided funding for the future."

School Based Health Centers (SBHC) provide access to care for low income and uninsured children right where they spend their day--at school. By providing access to health care for high risk children, school based clinics help minimize the time away from school due to untreated illness. A recent study finds that high school SBHC users had a 50 percent reduction in absenteeism and 25 percent reduction in tardiness after receiving school-based mental health counseling.

Northeast Valley Health Corporation is one of the nation's largest community health clinics providers. Its three School Based Health Clinics in the 28th Congressional District, are expected to provide services for 11,552 patients, totaling 34,656 primary care visits by the end of 2011.

If the Republican plan to strip much needed funding from successful school based health clinics were to become law, an estimated 3,505 potential new patients seeking access to care, totaling in 15,600 primary care visits, could not be accommodated at the Sun Valley Health Center by end of 2012.

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