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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2014 at least 10.4% of children 17 years old and younger lacked healthcare insurance. That means when 10 children in 100 get sick, they likely do not go to the doctor.

As a result, the federal government is beginning to provide funding for school-based health centers. These centers give students access to medical and mental healthcare on school property. The Health and Human Services Department provided $200 million between 2010 through 2013 for construction, renovation and equipment for these health centers. By December 2012, the state and local governments announced a cumulative total of 520 awards for health centers in schools in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Investments in School-Based Health Centers

Onvia’s Project Center found state and local governments are investing their money and federal grant dollars to fund school-based health centers. In the first quarter of 2015, officials released 21 requests for proposals (RFPs) and bids related to these efforts.

ExampleThe New York City School Construction Authority issued an RFP in March 2015. The project’s estimated value is $1.68 million for the construction of a school-based health center at Washington Irving High School in Manhattan.

ExampleThe Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Thornton, Colorado issued a request for letters of interest in March 2015 to determine the possibility of opening the school district’s first school-based health center. School district officials plan to open a center in 2017. In January 2015, the school district received a planning grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

ExampleThe El Dorado School District in Arizona issued an RFP in 2014 to set up a dental clinic within a health center at Washington Middle School.

In the first quarter of 2015, the State of New York released seven solicitations, which is the most solicitations among state agencies. The agency received $617.8 million in grants from the federal government in 2014. The Empire State ranked second only to California in federal grant dollars received.

States and School Districts Lead in Funding and Awards

So far, 2015 is outpacing the first quarter of 2014 in the number of solicitations. There were 14 RFPs and bids in 2014 vs. 21 this year that were related to school-based health centers. State agencies issued 10 of the 21 2015 solicitations; cities and school districts issued four solicitations each. In 2014, state agencies issued six solicitations in the first quarter of 2014 and school districts released four.

For all of 2014, state and local agencies released a total of 55 bids and RFPs and issued 38 awards. Solicitations came largely from the state-level: The top states in 2014 were Massachusetts and Oregon. School districts awarded the most contracts in 2014 with 20 awards, double the number of state agency awards.

Between January and March 2014, school districts awarded 19 contracts related to school-based health centers. Only two school-based healthcare center contracts in have been awarded in 2015’s first quarter so far. That leaves more opportunities for companies interested in 2015 for work related to these types of health centers.

ExampleThe Rockford School District No. 205 in Illinois awarded an $880,000 contract to Rockford Structures Construction Co. in January 2014 to construct the Auburn High School-School Based Health Center

ExampleIn 2014, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services awarded a three-year contact to Christiana Care Health Services, Inc. to operate a health center at Alexis I. du Pont high School in Wilmington, Delaware. The health-care provider will provide medical services, support efforts to reduce critical health problems of adolescents, health education, and decrease the incidents of high-risk behaviors by young people.

Key Takeaways

State agencies, local governments and school districts are awarding contracts for both planning services and construction related to school-based healthcare center initiatives. Companies in the construction and building industry are likely to find opportunities, as will firms in the healthcare and medical products fields.

Additionally, contract opportunities may not be concentrated in big cities and urban areas. For example, the California Healthcare Foundation reported in April 2015 that more clinics are opening in rural areas.

“They [School-based health centers] have grown significantly in the [Central] Valley and that is definitely because of the [Affordable Care Act’s] Health Resources and Services Administration grants,” said Salina Mendoza, Central Valley program manager for the California School-Based Health Alliance.

2014 Grant Dollars Awarded
(by millions)

2014 Grant Dollars Awarded

Source: Health and Human Services Department