NECO Mobile Eye Clinic at HHC!
Holyoke, MA - The Holyoke Health Center is partnering with New England College of Optometry to host the area's first pediatric Mobile Eye Clinic on Thursday, June 22nd from 9:00AM - 3:30PM. The Holyoke Health Center was awarded federal funding to expand eye care services as a response to the lack of accessible vision services for Holyoke residents. The grant funding has allowed Holyoke to create a partnership with NECO, who has provided HHC with an Optometrist who delivers on-site eye care services. On June 22nd the NECO Mobile Eye Clinic will be providing services specifically to our pediatric patients.
NECO's Mobile Eye Clinic can provide services to up to four children at one time. During the clinic on Thursday, we anticipate services will be provided to approximately 40 HHC pediatric patients throughout the day. The Mobile Eye Clinic will be equipped with two examination rooms and two pediatric optometrists that will provide comprehensive eye exams to our patients, and prescriptions for eye glasses if needed. Once the patient receives the prescription, they can order their eye glasses from the Holyoke Health Center Eye Care Clinic, and can return to HHC for their follow-up eye care needs.
According to Jay Breines, CEO of Holyoke Health Center, "Children in Holyoke have an exceptionally difficult time accessing vision treatment after they've been identified with a problem. It is recognized that 15-20% of children fail their vision test, and 10-20% of those children will not get follow up care they need such as prescriptions and eye glasses." The goal of our partnership with NECO and their Mobile Eye Clinic is to provide our pediatric patients who we've identified as failing a vision screening with comprehensive eye examinations that will result in a prescription for eye glasses if needed. Those who need follow up services will be able to receive care from our Holyoke Health Center Eye Care Clinic.
One of the benefits built into the Affordable Care Act was new funding for community health centers to expand vision services. The need for this expansion was demonstrated by the fact that 9000 health center offices operated by the 1200 health center organizations only employed 134 optometrists for on-site, full time comprehensive vision services. Vision problems among the pediatric population are often undiagnosed and untreated, and low-income patients of the health centers were clearly at risk, and ACA funding was aimed at providing a way to focus more resources on the probable problems of those patients. The partnership between HHC and NECO is a further effort to make sure those needs are met in the Holyoke area.
To learn more about the New England College of Optometry, and the Mobile Eye Clinic, please visit www.necoeyecare.org