School health services and supports are funded through a variety of mechanisms, including funding streams from health care, education, mental health and public health. Medicaid is the primary source of funding for school health services and supports. This includes through school districts billing Medicaid for health services delivered in the school setting, through community providers working in and with schools and billing Medicaid for the services delivered, and through established partnerships with other health care providers and organizations, such as managed care organizations.
Funding to support this work is also available through the education sector. For example, the nation’s education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), includes designated funding for activities that support safe and supportive school environments. In addition, ESSA funding can be used to hire school health providers, such as school nurses and mental health providers.
Federal grant opportunities from key agencies play a role in financing school health services and supports. These agencies include the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Supporting states and school districts in understanding how to braid and blend these different funding streams is a key strategy for sustainability and scalability.