EG Grant Info

*HHS Announces $300 Million to Expand Optometry and other Services at Nation's Community Health Centers*

On June 3rd, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the fiscal year 2014 Expanded Services (ES) supplemental funding opportunity for existing federally qualified health centers to expand hours, hire more providers, and establish additional services, including oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and vision services. This funding opportunity comes as a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which provided a $700 million boost over last year's budget to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), including $300 million in Affordable Care Act funds for health center expansion grants.

Now is an opportune time for member optometrists to contact their local CHCs to offer assistance and expertise in developing on-site vision services within the center. Vision start-up monies under this supplemental funding are not large; averaging approximately $150,000 per health center, but this funding can be leveraged to establish a new optometry service, staffed by a local optometrist that can rapidly become self-sustaining.

The due date for grant applications is July 1.

AOA members are urged to:

1. Read more about the Fiscal Year 2014 Health Center Expanded Services (ES) grant program.  Use the resources available on this page to educate yourself on community health centers and the options available for the expansion of vision services. 

2. Find health centers in your area through HRSA's website.

3. Reach out to your health center's CEO or CMO.  Educate them on the importance of vision care services in underserved areas and the opportunity the ES grant can provide in meeting that need. 

The AOA Health Center Committee has developed an updated business plan to help CHCs best utilize the expansion grant funding to set up on-site vision services (a PDF version containing only the Minimum Equipment Necessary page of the full business plan is available here).  AOA members with questions should contact AOA Washington office staffers Michael Dueñas, O.D.  or Kelli White, or Chair of the AOA Health Center Committee, Lillian Kalaczinski, OD.