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Uncertainty about national health care worries school clinic advocates

Advocates for school-based health clinics are meeting today at the state capitol.

There are approximately 100 school-based health centers operating in Michigan. They serve about 200,000  students.

Michele Straz is the executive director of the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan. She says it’s important to maintain government, foundation and other funding so the clinics can continue to provide a critical service to children.

 "Any one of those legs --  if it wavers or topples -- could be difficult for us to maintain or sustain what we’re doing," says Straz.  

Several speakers today say the continuing uncertainty over the future of the national health care system is another problem.

Terri Wright is the director of the Center for School, Health & Education Division of Public Health Policy and Practice in the American Public Health Association. She says the ongoing uncertainty over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  is affecting school based health centers.  

Wright says advocates will have to continue to fight for their programs.

“You have to fight every year. Absolutely nothing is a given. Once you get it, you have to fight to keep it," says Wright.   

Funding for school-based health clinics passing through the state Department of Community Health and the state Department of Education. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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