- Purchase/rental options available:
Background: The United States is facing a surge in the number of school-based health centers (SBHCs) owing to their success in delivering positive health outcomes and increasing access to care. To preserve this success, experts have developed frameworks for creating sustainable SBHCs; however, little research has affirmed or added to these models.
Objectives: This research seeks to analyze elements of sustainability in a case study of three SBHCs in San Diego, California, with the purpose of creating a research-based framework of SBHC sustainability to supplement expertly derived models.
Methods: Using a mixed methods study design, data were collected from interviews with SBHC stakeholders, observations in SBHCs, and SBHC budgets. A grounded theory qualitative analysis and a quantitative budget analysis were completed to develop a theoretical framework for the sustainability of SBHCs.
Results: Forty-one interviews were conducted, 6 hours of observations were completed, and 3 years of SBHC budgets were analyzed to identify care coordination, community buy-in, community awareness, and SBHC partner cooperation as key themes of sustainability promoting patient retention for sustainable billing and reimbursement levels.
Conclusions: These findings highlight the unique ways in which SBHCs gain community buy-in and awareness by becoming trusted sources of comprehensive and coordinated care within communities and among vulnerable populations. Findings also support ideas from expert models of SBHC sustainability calling for well-defined and executed community partnerships and quality coordinated care in the procurement of sustainable SBHC funding.