Supporting Home and Community-based Health Services for Chicago’s Medically Underserved

Success Stories: School Based Health Centers

The Problem

In the medically underserved neighborhoods where VNA Foundation focuses its efforts, most families lack adequate health insurance. As a result, children frequently have poor immunization compliance rates, adults experience poor management of chronic conditions, and both groups lack adequate access to healthcare and preventive and educational health services

For several years, we have felt that School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) were promising vehicles to address these health shortfalls. Under the SBHC model, on-site nursing staff provide a variety of health information and education services, along with direct services like immunizations and sick care.

The Goal

It was our hope that by forging partnerships between schools and communities, the SBHCs could bring at-risk children (and, through the provision of health education and referral services, their families) into a more coordinated system of health services. We felt that SBHCs were well-positioned for maximum access to, and impact on, their target populations.

The Results

We are pleased to report that, at least in VNA Foundation experience, SBHCs work — and work well.

Over the last three years, SBHCs as a whole were the most consistently successful of our grants in meeting outcome measures and demonstrating positive impact. Notable reductions in ER visits by asthma patients, substantial increases in immunization rates and well-attended health education and information events were achieved.

Overall Success

In 2011, VNA Foundation awarded $2.2 million in FY ’12 to fifty-nine agencies that provide healthcare to metropolitan Chicago’€™s medically underserved.

In 2010, VNA Foundation awarded sixty-two grants amounting to more than $2 million. Recipients of the grants include a variety of agencies providing health care and health services to the working poor, the homeless, and the disenfranchised.

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