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Vargas requests Washington set aside school health center funds

Guaranteed federal funds for the school-based health centers located at San Diego schools could become scarce if the federal government does not fund the program in future years. Local Representative Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), in an effort to not let funding lapse, joined other representatives, from cities and towns across America, to support a 5 year reauthorization of funding for cener operations.

Rep. Lois Capps (CA) proposed the bill that will set up the funding the centers depend on to offer services, and serve their patients.

The centers are staffed by healthcare professionals that work with a school's health staff. The professionals paid using federal funds can not lose the funds.

The Public Health Services Act makes operational funds available to local centers. School-based Health Centers, funded by the Affordable Care Act, fill gaps in the country's child healthcare delivery network. ACA capital funding added hundreds of centers to the country's healthcare safety net. And, expanded facility services at existing centers.

La Maestra Family Clinic, in City Heights, and Family Healthcare Centers of san Diego were among 197 center programs Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius awarded capital grant funds at the end of 2012.

Health screenings and health education offered at the centers open up opportunities for students in need of healthcare to meet program prevention goals. Early intervention in a child's healthcare protects children against experiences with acute illnesses and diseases.

“All children deserve access to quality healthcare services and I will continue to fight to ensure that becomes a reality," Vargas said in February. A decision to not reauthorize federal funding for center operations will cancel plans to keep the access to healthcare President Obama built up when ACA became law open to students who use the centers.

Three years of capital funding for healthcare expansion at school facilities, and new center construction, has been invested in giving students access to healthcare at school lcaitons parents and communities agree on. The bill Vargas singed onto will secure School-based Health Center Program funding for the 2014 to 2019 years.

THis is an On The Watch Take.