A Health Center Program Grantee is a community health center (CHC) that receives grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care, under the Health Center Program. In order to become a grantee, CHCs must submit a successful grant application. Applications must include “letters of support” from other health care providers and potential community partners. Specifically, CHCs must have letters of support from other Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), FQHC Look-alikes, critical access hospitals, and local and state public health jurisdictions located in the area they serve. CHCs serving special populations (migrant seasonal agricultural workers, people who are homeless and residents of public housing) must have letters from organizations that also serve those populations.
While there is much more to a winning grant application than a letter of support, good letters of support can make a healthcare project grant more competitive. Good letters illustrate deep commitment to the health center mandate from a range of stakeholders; they show how the community will benefit from the health center with appropriate collaboration. A good health center letter of support shows passion for the work the health center will do and convincing details about how they will accomplish this work.
From a reviewer’s perspective, there’s probably nothing worse than looking through grant attachments and finding identical letters of support from the people the health center plans to collaborate with on a grant project. Reviewers want to see more than the same form letter signed by 10 or 20 of your nearest and dearest colleagues.
What makes a good letter of support for health care grant application?
While templates are useful for letters of support they should be used as a guideline only. The author should introduce themselves by explaining what their organization does and its relationship to the health center. The details in their letters should be tailored to the health center’s unique traits, mission and goals to show knowledge of the organization and the project. The letter should demonstrate how the grant will affect the health center’s ability to achieve its mission and goals. It should also address how this project will be of benefit to the organization’s constituents or whether the author’s organization is contributing something to the project such as referring their clients or students to the health center. The author should indicate how closely his or her organization plans to work with the health center organization. Last but not least, letters should be kept to one page.
In a health center grant, applicants often have to list the letters in the narrative. It’s important to get your letters of support in early; waiting until the last minute can really delay your submission.
How can Health Center Solutions help?
Health Center Solutions consultants are experienced allies of community health centers and we know that federal grants are absolutely vital to providing health care to underserved communities. We help CHCs ensure that all their documents are in order when applying for a federal grant, including compelling “letters of support.” When you submit an application that is complete and well thought-out you increase your chances of approval on the first try.
Health Center Solutions’ dedicated professionals are focused on providing outcome-focused, customer-driven solutions. To schedule a meeting, a mock OSV or to request more information about program compliance, please contact us today!