The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is now accepting grant applications from public and non-profit health care providers for the DSHS Federally Qualified Health Center Incubator Program.
The program is being funded by $20 million from the American Rescue Plan after being passed by the Texas legislature last fall, according to the Department’s August 4 news release.
“Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are a valuable support for people who need essential medical care but live in areas where resources are scarce and access can be challenging,” State Senator Robert Nichols shared in the release. “Once they are up and running, they operate without local or state financial support. These grants are intended to bridge the gap between start-up cost and full certification to enable the program to expand in Texas. FQHCs serve a pivotal role in our health care system, and I was very happy funding for the incubator program was secured.”
Funds can be used for a number of reasons, including buying new equipment, making capital improvements, and adding additional staff members. The program was designed to expand health services to uninsured and lower-income communities, according to the news release.
Existing FQHCs and look-alikes can receive up to $500,000 in funding through this program. Government facilities and nonprofits that provide primary care but are not FQHCs can receive an award of up to $1 million in funding.
Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt said the program will expand the overall goal of DSHS.
“Supporting people’s access to quality health care is part of DSHS’s mission to improve the health and well-being of Texans. This funding will further that goal in communities across Texas,” Hellerstedt shared in the news release.
Open enrollment for the program lasts until December 21, 2022, according to the application website. However, enrollment can close sooner if all of the funding is exhausted before the deadline. In order to receive the full contract amount of funding, agencies must ensure all funded activities are completed by August 31, 2023.
State Representative Tom Oliverson also shared his excitement for the FQHC Incubator Program in the August 4 news release.
“I am proud to have secured funding for the FQHC Incubator Program. These grants will help deserving non-profit health care organizations – like TOMAGWA (HealthCare Ministries) in my district – that are in the process of applying to become a Federally Qualified Health Center. I am excited about the opportunity these grants will create by promoting and supporting new non-profit and public entities through the FQHC development process,” Oliverson said.
When filling out the grant applications, applicants must specify what they intend to use the funding for, the news release states. Agencies are being considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Eligible entities that are not currently FQHCs can also use the funding to go through the application and qualification process, according to the press release.
On July 18, the FQHC Incubator Program hosted an information session so those interested could learn more about the program and the process of applying for funding.