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Our mission at the Holyoke Health Center is to "Improve the health of our patients through affordable, quality health care and comprehensive community-based programs to create a healthy community."

Holyoke, MA - Holyoke Health Center has been awarded $75,000 from the Provider Access Grant Improvement Grant Program (PAIGP) in their third round of grant awards. Holyoke Health was among 61 MassHealth Fee-for-Service Providers awarded, which totaled over $1.84M. The PAIGP grant serves to help providers increase access to healthcare, and improve outcomes for patients with disabilities, or for whom English is not a first language. These awards are to be used for purchasing accessible medical diagnostic equipment, communication devices, and other resources.

Holyoke Health Center is pleased to use this grant towards expanding the Vision Center—which is relocating to the Steiger Building and is scheduled to open December of this year. The new location will provide additional space for exam rooms and equipment, allowing them to treat more patients. The funds will also be used to purchase an instrument called Maestro II, which has dual functions: 

  1. The first as a camera to take pictures of the inside of a patient’s eyes to help record any abnormalities.
  2. The second is an OCT (optical coherence tomographer) which allows us to take scans of parts of the back of the eye to see if there is pathology present that is not obvious to the examiner’s eye. For instance: fluid from diabetic retinopathy under the retina causing blurry vision or changes in the optic nerve that indicate glaucoma is developing.

Megan McPhail, an Optometrist at Holyoke Health Center, highlights the significance of these improvements, “In the past, we have had to refer patients out for OCTs. Now we will be able to perform the scans here, which will help determine whether a patient needs to be referred to a specialist for treatment. Recently, MA passed a bill that will allow optometrists to treat Glaucoma for the first time. We are all trained during school to diagnose and treat Glaucoma, however, each state has laws on what we are and are not allowed to treat. We have had to send all of our patients to an ophthalmologist for evaluation and treatment, and often our patients would have to find someone who spoke English to go with them because the provider did not have an interpreter. Now we will be able to keep a majority of these patients in house and monitor and treat them here. This is huge!”

The PAIG grant will provide additional support to members of the community and health center. McPhail adds, “We are one of the only locations that takes Mass Health and has translation services so our patients love coming here for their eye care. As our department expands, we will have the equipment necessary to support the expansion. Super exciting.”

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