The $650,000, two-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration will help the nurses provide primary health care services at their FOCUS Wellness Center on Broad Street, as well as services from their mobile medical unit.
The New Access Points Section 330 grant qualifies the school’s Newark location as a federally qualified health center, which defines a nonprofit or public organization that serves a medically underserved area or population.
“The designation makes the Rutgers community health program eligible for special Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, discounted pharmaceutical products and free vaccines for uninsured children, and special programs, such as funding for diabetes treatment. It also enables the program to participate in a series of state-funded initiatives,” according to a statement from Rutgers.
To be designated as an FQHC, the facility must offer services to all persons, regardless of their ability to pay, as well as establish a fee discount program. In addition, it must be community-based, with patients comprising a majority of their governing board of directors.
Currently, several FQHC facilities exist in Newark as part of the Newark Community Health Centers Inc., as well as the Jewish Renaissance Medical Center’s school-based health centers.
“Types of organizations that may apply are private, nonprofit outpatient clinics that meet the Section 330 program requirements. Once they receive the grants, they become community, migrant, homeless or public housing health centers,” according to HRSA.
This grant helps with the mobile units and increases the number of ambulatory service technicians, as well.
Currently, the New Jersey Children’s Health Project, which provides primary care to adults and children on a mobile medical unit that travels to six different sites in the city, and the Jordan and Harris Community Health Center, which provides on-site services at four public housing locations weekly, are part of the school’s efforts.
With the grant, more training for community workers assisting nursing professionals at the Jordan and Harris site is possible.
Increasing screenings for hypertension, diabetes, cervical cancer and colon and breast cancer will be a focus for nurses, according to a statement from Rutgers.
“The funding — and our new federal status — allow us to bring comprehensive primary care services to the public housing residents and develop a continuum of care,” said Susan Salmond, executive vice dean of Rutgers School of Nursing, Newark and New Brunswick.