March 13, 2023

Bill to codify School-Based Health Centers heads to House floor

A bill codifying School-Based Health Centers passed by a 5-3 party line vote in the House Health and Human Services Committee on Monday.

SB 397, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, would codify the School-Based Health Centers that already exist in the schools and have for 25 years into state law. The bill does not change parental notification or change the way the centers are run or the services they provide.

Republicans have repeatedly expressed concern about children receiving reproductive health care services at the School-Based Health Centers without parental notification. State Rep. Harlan Vincent, R-Riudoso Downs, asked if a 14-year-old receives treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, if the center notifies the parent.

Expert witness Kristin Oreskovich, SBHC Program Clinical Operations for New Mexico Department of Health, said the centers “follow all the same confidentiality laws as any other clinic in the state.”

“If a student is 14 or above, parental notification is not required by state law,” she said.

State Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, said the bill “simply codifies them.”

“There is somebody out there sending out info that is truly false,” Trujillo, also a bill sponsor, said.

The bill heads next to the House floor.