by Derrick Vander Waal SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Promise Community Health Center will take the next step in the growth of its services with the addition of vision care.
The health center was awarded grant funding of $497,208 over two years through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Expanded Services program to initiate the vision services and enhance its other services.
Promise plans to begin offering the optometry services in early 2016 at its downtown Sioux Center health center.
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center will begin offering vision services in early 2016.
“It’s exciting because we’re providing another service that we know our patients need,” said Amy Kleinhesselink, chief financial officer for Promise. “And we’re providing it here on site, so they won’t have to go somewhere else – which can be such a barrier for them.”
Promise has entered a partnership with Beaver Eye Care of Sioux Center to offer eye exams eight hours per week at the health center. A limited selection of corrective lens and glasses also will be available to patients at Promise.
Nancy Dykstra, executive director for Promise, said people who otherwise had difficulty accessing affordable vision care now will have that option.
“We want to make sure we reach our target population – folks who are at or below the poverty level or who don’t have health insurance,” she said. “Affordable vision care was identified as a need in our population of patients. It fits our mission of holistic care. It’s exciting that people can come to Promise, and all the dimensions of their health care can be met in one place.”
Kleinhesselink said Promise will receive continued funding for vision services beyond the two years as part of its primary federal grant if it demonstrates that it is meeting the vision need.
The Expanded Services grant also provides funding to enhance Promise’s other programs, including digital panoramic X-ray equipment for the dental program. The grant also supports additional personnel, including a medical/optometrist assistant, billing assistant and community outreach educator.
“The community education piece is about making sure those who really need our care can get into our services,” Dykstra said.
Nationwide, 1,184 community health centers were awarded $350 million in Expanded Services grants for medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care. Iowa’s 14 community health centers will receive nearly $3.92 million.
Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.