Federal grants to support new health centers have been available every other year since President George W. Bush set a goal to create 10,000 new health centers in 2005. The Obama Administration continued funding “New Access Points” with stimulus funds and the Affordable Care Act. With uncertainty around federal funding priorities under the Trump Administration, your clinic might want to consider becoming a community health center under the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-alike program.
With the goal of increasing access and expanding health care services to citizens in under served areas, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded more than $50 million in New Access Point grant funding to 75 community-based and patient-directed health centers across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Micronesia. Successful applicants received their award notices on December 15, 2016.
A health center’s scope of project lays out approved service sites, services, providers, service area(s) and target population(s) that are supported by the Section 330 project budget. These activities are identified in the health center scope documents. Federal regulations require health centers to maintain their funded scope of project including any increases based on recent grant awards.
Health center program grantees and health center look-alikes are supposed to receive routine operational site visits (OSVs) conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) every three years. The main purpose of the OSV is to verify the status of each health center program participant’s compliance with the 19 Health Center Program Requirements (PRs).
Most health centers delay preparing for the site visit until they receive a notice about a pending OSV, putting them at risk for findings of noncompliance which can threaten their funding. Why not make 2017 the year you get proactive about program compliance and build a work plan for your board that ensures your ability to demonstrate compliance?
The calendar below provides a road map for demonstrating program compliance. In addition to complying with all 19 PRs, documenting these activities in your board meeting minutes is a fail safe way to demonstrate compliance with “PR #17 Board Authority”.
Service Area Competition ‒ Additional Areas grants (SAC-AA) are announced outside of the annual SAC schedule for health centers that were unable to get a service area competition grant turned in properly through their regular Service Area Competition (SAC) application or for a service area where a grantee is no longer in service or eligible for HRSA funding to serve the area.
A change in scope for health care centers is a mini-application that health care centers must use when they are adding a new target population, adding a new service or service delivery site, or deleting a service or service delivery site.
Revised process for change in scope for health care centers
A foundation grant is monetary assistance that provides funding to individuals and small businesses by companies, citizens and corporate, family and private organizations. The funds are awarded to meet particular needs. Community health centers can benefit from capital grants to expand or remodel their facility, build a new facility or purchase health care equipment. Foundations may also fund operations – frequently foundations are interested in funding innovative, new programs.
How to make a successful application for a Foundation Grant
Equipment and renovation costs may make up a big portion of a community health center’s new access point budget. There is no doubt that necessary equipment or small renovations can be costly but applicants should consider if using federal funds from new access point (NAP) grants to purchase equipment or make minor renovations is worth the extra work.
What you need to know about new access point grants
People may be familiar with the fact that funds from the federal government come tied with required inventory and tracking that can be onerous. There may also be a “Federal interest” on the property. What you may not realize is that in addition to this reporting burden, using the one-time only funds for new access point grants may significantly reduce the funding amount of the initial award.
Purchasing healthcare equipment or taking care of minor renovations with New Access Point grants and a one-time only $150,000 grant can be very beneficial for your health care center.
Many hospital administrators and medical facility executives devote countless hours sorting through grant opportunities. Some opportunities are worth pursuing – such as the FQHC New Access Point grant – while others might not be the right fit.
Who can apply for Access Point Funding and how do I know if I should apply for a FQHC New Access Point Grant?
In order to ensure that each patient gets the best medical services, clinics have to stay competitive with the latest medical equipment and products; all of these requirements take a lot of resources. The clinic’s success and the well- being of their patients and the community they serve, is dependent upon the stability of their finances. For this reason, clinics should consider HRSA grants funding.