SAN FRANCISCO: Brown Pledges Health Clinics to High Schools
Building on his promise to give health coverage to San Francisco's uninsured, Mayor Willie Brown (D) pledged to put health clinics in local high schools next year. Although specific implementation plans and funding have yet to be developed, Taj James, a director at Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, said Brown "made a commitment that he would give more than $1.4 million" and would "do whatever it takes," if re-elected for another four-year term. Brown said he hopes to form partnerships with state and federal agencies to fund the clinics. Frustrated with the lack of school nurses, students "heavily lobbied" for the school clinics. Of the city's 22 high schools, only one has a health clinic and only three have nurses on duty one or two days a week. The students' efforts have paid off. The Board of Supervisors announced plans to create a $550,000 budget for two more high school clinics for the next academic year. Regardless of who wins the Dec. 14 mayoral election, the students are in a "win-win situation" as Brown's opponent, Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano (D), also supports the proposed school clinics. UCSF professor of pediatrics Claire Brindis said the reforms will be "an important addition" to the San Francisco community. Currently one in seven adolescents are without access to health care. Her research also shows that 25% of African American youths and 33% of Latino teens have no form of health coverage (Lelchuk, San Francisco Examiner, 12/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.