District of Columbia Community Health Center Unity Health Care recently received a visit from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. The two visited Unity’s school based health center on the historic Cardozo Education Campus, which is a combined middle and high school in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, a diverse enclave of the nation’s capital. The visit and roundtable discussion, featuring participants from the Children’s Defense Fund and the AASA, Schools Superintendents Association, was part of an effort to encourage schools and districts to enroll students in health care coverage through school registration.
“As a nation, there is more we can do to help children access the care they need to stay healthy and to be ready to learn. Enrolling or linking students to coverage through school registration processes is just one of many ways that education and health stakeholders and agencies can partner to ensure all students are healthy and ready to learn,” said Sec. John B. King in a press release.
Children who have health coverage are more likely to graduate from both high school and college than those who are uninsured, according to the Department of Education. Despite progress in efforts to expand coverage for children, about one in 17 under the age of 18 remain uninsured. There are also about 2.8 million uninsured children who are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“Children do better in the classroom when they are healthy and ready for learning. As we gear up for Open Enrollment’s start on Nov. 1, we want to make sure more kids have access to quality care that will keep them healthy, active, and prepared to learn through the year,” said Secretary Burwell.
Unity is just one of many health centers across the nation that work hard to connect people with the information and services they need to get covered. Because of fluctuations in income and employment that impact health coverage—known as churn—health centers are proactive about keeping adults and children covered throughout the year, not just during open enrollment. In fact, health centers have been integral to national enrollment effort and have assisted over 15 million people with enrollment since July 2013.
If you’re a health center looking for tools to help you get children covered check out the two resources below.