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School-Based Health Centers

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of care do students receive?
If a student is enrolled in the School-Based Health Center (SBHC), he or she will receive the same care that they would get at the doctor’s office.  The SBHC can manage a student’s illness(es) at school and therefore decrease absenteeism from school. For a complete list of services, please contact the SBHC.

The SBHC will not provide any care to students without a parent’s knowledge and consent, however there is a special exception for reproductive health services. High school SBHCs provide access to reproductive health services. New York State law allows minors to consent to their own care for the following reproductive health services:

  • Reproductive health services, including contraception, and prenatal care.
  • Testing for and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
  • Mental health counseling/treatment. 
  • Substance abuse counseling.

Students are encouraged to involve their parents; however minors have the right to receive reproductive health services from the SBHC, or from any health care organization, with or without your consent.

Is it mandatory for students to enroll in the SBHC?
Enrolling in the SBHC is not mandatory, however strongly encouraged so that they may have access to quality comprehensive health care such as: immunizations, comprehensive physical examinations (for sports, working papers and new admissions), diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe, and in some cases, dispense medication, and provide other services similar to your pediatrician.  If your child is not enrolled, the only care that the SBHC can provide is emergency first aid and those services for which minors may consent to their own treatment.

How is a student enrolled in the SBHC?
To enroll in the SBHC, parents or legal guardians should complete and return to the SBHC a Parental Consent Form. This form is available at the SBHC. For a sample form, please click the applicable link below:

Parental Consent Form Grades PK-8 (English)
This Form is also available in Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Haitian-Creole | Korean | Russian | Spanish | Urdu  

Parental Consent Form Grades 9-12 (English)
This Form is also available in Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Haitian-Creole | Korean | Russian | Spanish | Urdu 

What is the cost?
There is no cost to parents for the services provided by the SBHC.

Does a student need to have health insurance to be seen at the SBHC?
SBHCs provide free care to students whether or not they have insurance.  However, if the student has Medicaid, it is important to provide this information to the SBHC so that they will be able to bill for the services they provide.

Every child in New York State is eligible for health insurance --- even undocumented immigrants.  If your child is not insured, the School-Based Health Center at his or her school can connect you with a public health insurance provider in their network.  You can also contact the Office of School Health at 212-374-0820, and we can connect you with an enroller.  For more information on Public Health Insurance please click here.

Will going to the SBHC count against my assigned number of doctor visits?
No.  Medicaid allows children who have Primary Care Providers outside the school to be seen at School-Based Health Centers without it having an impact on the care they receive from a PCP.

If there is no cost, then why do you need my insurance information?
Although services at SBHCs must be provided at no cost to the parent, SBHCs are allowed to bill insurance for many of the services that they provide.  School-Based Health Centers rely upon Medicaid billing for about 50% of their annual funding—funding that allows them to provide better care to your students.  Please share your insurance information with the SBHC so that they can determine whether they are able to bill for services.

What if the student already has a doctor?
If a student already has a Primary Care Provider (PCP), then the SBHC staff will supplement the care that he or she provides.  If necessary, the SBHC staff will communicate with your child’s PCP to make sure that your child receives the best care possible both in and out of school.

If your child does not have a Primary Care Provider, the provider at the SBHC can take on that role.

If a student is an undocumented immigrant, can he or she be seen at the School-Based Health Center?
Yes. Immigration status is not a factor in a student’s access to care at the SBHC.  The SBHC staff won’t even ask about immigration status.

If a student does not have a Social Security Number, can he or she be seen at the SBHC?
Yes. The medical professionals at the SBHC might ask for a student’s social security number to check whether he or she has Medicaid.  However, this is not necessary access services at the SBHC.

Can students from other schools access care from a SBHC?
In most cases, the answer is no.  School-Based Health Centers are not permitted to provide care to anyone other than students registered at the school/campus where they are located.  However, the sponsoring agency can frequently direct other family members to their central location, or to other clinics in the area for care.  A few SBHCs also function as Community Health Centers, and they can see children who are not registered at the school.

Can school staff access care from a SBHC?
No, SBHCs cannot provide medical services to school staff. However, in the event of an emergency the medical provider at the SBHC can respond to all persons in the building. School administrators are encouraged to involve the SBHC staff in their school safety plan and include them in their health and safety committees.

If you have any questions please contact Dr. Marcelo De Stefano, Director, SBHC, Dental Clinics, and Health Insurance at 
mdestefano4@schools.nyc.gov  or Solluz Melendez, Program Coordinator at or smelendez7@schools.nyc.gov