HSSA Announces Annual "Access to Care" Grant Competition

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced its annual “Access to Care” grant competition for non-profit and other organizations is open for 2020 grants. This grant competition seeks applicants who provide innovative and efficient health service delivery that increases access to health care for at risk populations.

The HSSA 2020 Access to Care Grant Competition will award up to $300,000 for one or more grants that durably increase the efficiency and efficacy of health delivery in Spokane County that measurably increases access to care for certain populations.

“HSSA’s mission is to invest in life and health sciences research and infrastructure to promote economic development and growth,” said Nancy L. Isserlis, Board Chair. “HSSA also invests in Access to Care grants to promote public health, which is this annual grant competition, and we have committed $2.5 million to these programs to date,” she said.

Here are key dates related to HSSA’s 2020 Access to Care grants:

RFP posted at: September 9, 2019

Letter of Intent due by 12 noon: September 30, 2019

Final Proposal due by 4PM: October 31, 2019

Awards Announced: December 20, 2019

Past recipients have included a successful program by Catholic Charities’ and the Empire Health Foundation called “Rising Strong”; Partners with Families and Children; Volunteers of America’s “Hot Spotters”; Spokane Prescription Assistance Network; Spokane Neighborhood Action Plan; Priority Spokane; Northeast Community Center’s Medical and Dental operations and youth counseling; Pioneer Human Services; YWCA mental health initiative, Providence Dental NE operatories, and others.

Applicants should submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) on the HSSA website at www.hssaspokane.orgunder the Grants tab. HSSA will provide a link to successful Applicants to use to submit a Final Proposal. HSSA will coordinate with Applicants directly, if required. If the LOI is selected, a Final Proposal would be due by October 25, 2019. In this Final Proposal, Applicants who have previously been funded by HSSA should list positive major outcomes from previous grants.

HSSA is credited with bringing $35 million in extramural grants to the Spokane region as every $1 of National Institutes for Health (NIH) funding accounts for another $1, creating $70 million alone by 2019 in economic activity. HSSA has invested about $5.8 million in research and infrastructure grants, and over $2.5 million in Access to Care grants, for a total direct investment of $8 million. The organization has contributed to date well over $100 million, an exciting return on investment.

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About HSSA:

The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane Countywas established in 2007 for 15 years by the Washington legislature, authorized county-wide by Spokane County in 2008 and began operating in 2009. It was reauthorized by the Washington State Legislature in 2019 for an additional 15 years. Its mission is to invest in health sciences research to promote economic development, advance new therapies and procedures to combat disease, and to promote public health. HSSA invests funds to create and support a nationally competitive health sciences research cluster in Spokane County, and works to catalyze higher education research and the health sciences industry that will lead to higher wage jobs, long-term sustainability and economic diversification. For more information, visit our website at www.hssaspokane.orgor call 509.474.0798.

About Our Board:

Nancy Isserlis, Attorney, Winston & Cashatt and HSSA Board Chair; Michael Wilson, Consultant and HSSA Grants Committee Chair; Jason Thackston, Senior Vice President of Energy Resources, Avista Corp. and HSSA Finance Committee Chair; Ph.; Scott Gordon, Ph.D. Provost, Eastern Washington University; Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D., President, 2ndSight Bioscience; Darryl Potyk, M.D., UW/GU Regional Director of Medical Education; David J. Vachon, Ph.D., CEO/Founder, Iasis Molecular Sciences/Novion Technologies, and Dr. Francisco Velàzquez, former President & CEO, PAML and PAML Ventures.

Allele Dx, Iasis Molecular & Photon Bioscience receive funding this summer

HSSA's Board has been busy, granting almost $875,000 to three local health science research firms over the summer of 2019. Here is an introduction to these companies.

Allele Diagnostics, Inc. Marcelo Morales, President & CEO

HSSA has matched a federal SBIR Phase I grant to Allele Diagnostics by providing $222,840 for the development of rapid genetic testing of congenital heart defects. This funding followed a small HSSA grant that allowed Allele to receive professional grant-writing support from for its submission to NIH for the larger grant HSSA recently matched. Rapid results are important for medical management of congenital heart defects diagnosis and treatment that helps guide surgical decisions. This test will be intended for patients with a congenital heart defect either diagnosed prenatally or at birth when a rapid genetic diagnosis is important. The first phase funding will allow the project to be completed in the fall of 2019, improve the robustness of the verification study by adding additional sample and experiments, and start the process of commercialization and marketing. Allele is already working on a submitting a SBIR Phase II grant application by early September, which the HSSA funding allows. Otherwise the next opportunity to apply would be in April 2020. Allele’s research and commercialization will continue in Spokane.

Iasis Molecular Sciences David J. Vachon, Ph.D, Founder

Iasis Molecular Sciences received a grant of $500,000 from HSSA ‘s SBIR matching grant program that matches a grant from the Congressional Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) for the development of a next generation catheter. This award targets catheter-associated urinary tract infections, the most prevalent of the health care-associated infections (HAIs). Iasis Molecular Sciences have evolved to address the HAI problem from a systems standpoint, and in the process become an infection-prevention and control materials solution company. The proposed research has the potential to improve outcomes for both military and civilian populations while reducing costs. The focus is to ensure that surfaces inside and around patients are free of, or able to fend off microorganisms that can cause infection. In the U.S., it is estimated that 1 in 25 hospitalized patients will contract a healthcare-associated infection. More research, clinical trials and funding will be required to take these products to market, Vachon said, before commercialization may occur.

Photon Biosciences, LLC James Brozik, Co-Founder, CTO, ChulHee Kang, Co-Founder, CTO, Chandima Bandaranayaka, CEO

Photon Biosciences, a startup company from Pullman, has moved to Spokane with the help of HSSA. Photon’s scientists have been researching and developing a non-photobleaching and non-photoblinking luminescent probe for disease detection and biomolecular imaging. Its phosphorescent probe is named RECAL®.

HSSA has provided $150,000 in funds that match a federal grant Photon Biosciences recently received that established a laboratory in the Spokane University District. The company is nearing commercialization, and its product has the potential to supplant much of the fluorescent protein, organic chromophore and quantum dot-based technologies that currently dominate the market and will enable many tasks that are currently not possible or practical. Biochemistry, biophysics, food safety, medical diagnostics and homeland security are some potential areas of application. Photon Biosciences has identified likely partners and sublicensees for development of the technology, and plans are to manufacture and sell products from Spokane.

HSSA Announces 2019 $300,000 "Access to Care" Grant Competition

“Tom” had visited the three Hospital Emergency Department in the city of Spokane 176 times last year and as a result was referred to the “Hot Spotters” program, according to Stephen Miller, Volunteers of America adult services director. "The Hot Spotters program (funded by a grant from Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County) works with over utilizers of our emergency services and connects them to the appropriate care for the health issues they are dealing with. As a result of Hot Spotters and its collaboration with over twenty other agencies, Tom has only visited the emergency room four times in 2018 and all for legitimate health concerns. Multiply that 176 visits by the average cost of an ER visit, and you get a sense of the phenomenal amount of money and ER resources that are being saved by this innovative program. Hot Spotters connects people like Tom to primary care doctor, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, housing and numerous other services," said Miller.

“It happens much too often in our community and across the nation, said Miller.

We simply could not keep up with the caseload we experience without the assistance of the HSSA and the cost to the community would continue to rise,” Miller recently said. “If not in emergency costs at our hospitals, then in jail costs.”

One of the most cost effective programs HSSA funds is the Spokane Prescription Assistance Network that has provided more than $17 million in donated prescribed pharmaceuticals to those who otherwise cannot afford their medications, for a 28 to 1 return on investment, says Kelly Armstrong, SPAN Executive Director.

The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA)of Spokane County is announcing that its annual “Access to Care”grant competition to non-profit and other organizations is open for its 2019 grants. This grant seeks applicants who provide innovative health service delivery and increased access to health care to at risk populations.

The HSSA RFP #14 2019 – Access to Care grant will award up to $300,000 for one or more grants that durably increase the efficiency of health service delivery and that increases access to health care for at risk populations in Spokane County.

Last year, HSSA funded $380,000 to five recipients through its annual “Access to Care” grant, including Volunteers of America mentioned above. Also receiving HSSA grants in 2018 were Catholic Charites/Empire Health Foundation for the “Rising Strong” family-centered treatment and housing project. Partners with Families and Children, the Providence dental program for equipment to serve low income patients, and Spokane Prescription Assistance also were funded.

“HSSA’s mission includes increasing access to health care through innovative and collaborative health care delivery in Spokane County, as well as to improve the capacity of the Spokane region to contribute to advances in health sciences research,” said Nancy L. Isserlis, HSSA Board Chair.

Here are key dates related to HSSA RFP #14 2019 “Access to Care”Grant applicant proposals for funding:

RFP posted date: August 30, 2018

Letter of intent due by 12 noon: September 28, 2018

Final Proposal due by 4 pm: October 25, 2018

Awards announcement: November 30, 2018

Applicants should submit a letter of intent (LOI) on the HSSA website at www.hssaspokane.orgunder the Grants tab and Access to Care. HSSA will acknowledge receipt and for those Applicants who meet HSSA criteria, HSSA will provide a link for the Applicant to use to submit a full proposal. This should expedite the process. HSSA also will coordinate directly with the applicants, if necessary. If the LOI is selected, a full proposal would be due via the HSSA website by 4 pm on October 25, 2018. In addition to the normal requirements of applicants, past recipients should reference in the current proposal the major outcomes in past HSSA grants.

HSSA’s grant competition helps to meet one of its strategic goals to increase access to health services in Spokane County for at risk populations, and represents a fund of about 15 percent of annual revenues designated for this purpose.

“To date we have awarded $2 million in this category, providing resources to those organizations in our County who do the important work with people who otherwise would not receive health care services or would seek these services from the area’s emergency rooms and other expensive options,” Isserlis said. “Some end up incarcerated at taxpayers’ expense, so one of HSSA’s intents is to decrease costs while improving health care services,” Isserlis said.

HSSA’s other strategic initiative is to increase local health sciences researchand the infrastructure that supports it, and designates 75 percent of its revenues for that purpose. In the latter case, the research grants are open year-roundfor proposals at any time, and HSSA has invested $5 million to date in health science research grants.

Together with its Access to Care grants, the organization estimates that it has created a total of 450 jobs and $70 million in total economic activity. This includes approximately $20 million in extramural federal grant funding to Spokane. More information about all HSSA grants may be found at www.hssaspokane.org.


HSSA Announces $380,000 “Access to Health Care” 2018 Recipients


The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County announced it will fund $380,000 for five (5) community recipients of its annual “Access to Care” grant competition in 2018. The organizations that were selected provide innovative health service delivery and increased access to health care to certain populations.

“HSSA’s mission includes increasing access to health care through innovative and collaborative health care delivery in Spokane County, as well as its on-going efforts to improve the capacity of the Spokane region in health sciences research,” said Nancy L. Isserlis, HSSA Board Chair.

“HSSA received 13 grant proposals totaling over $1.2 million, which certainly speaks to community need and innovation presented in these proposals,” she said.

The 2018 recipients of HSSA’s “Access to Care” grant competition are as follows:

  • Empire Health Foundation/Catholic Charities Spokane “Rising Strong” will receive $100,000 from HSSA for its family-centered treatment with housing for families at risk of child removal due to parental alcohol and substance use disorder. Rising Strong will provide housing, recovery coaching, behavioral treatment and evidence-based programs for the entire family.
  • Partners with Family & Children will receive $50,000 in 2018 to continue its mission to address the specialty child abuse needs for a growing number of children who suffer from physical and/or sexual child abuse, as well as conduct training for new medical personnel.
  • Providence Health Care Foundation will receive $100,000 to establish on-site dental care for low income populations with clinics at Sacred Heart and Holy Family hospitals. Nearly 3,600 dental patients presented to Providence in 2015 for treatment. HSSA’s funding will be used for dental equipment purchased to outfit operatories at Sacred Heart.
  • Spokane Prescription Assistance Network will receive $30,000 to make available prescription drugs for moderate income under-insured people on Medicare and other insurance plans with high deductibles and co-pays. This is the only organization in Spokane dedicated to providing expertise in accessing prescribed mediation on a community-wide basis and claims an $18 to $1 return on investment for its funders, including HSSA.
  • Volunteers of America (VOA) Hot Spotters program will receive $100,000 to provide improved health outcomes for high-need residents who often present to emergency departments, emergency responders, community court system and mental health providers with a complex blend of social, medical, mental health and/or substance abuse matters, sometimes referred to as “hot spotters” for the frequency of their high cost visits to providers.

“We have now awarded nearly $1.9 million in Access to Care grants in our County to organizations who do the important work with people who otherwise would not receive health care services or would seek these services from other expensive options,” Isserlis said.

HSSA’s other strategic initiative is to increase local health sciences research and the infrastructure that supports it, and designates 75 percent of its revenues for that purpose. Research grants are open year-round for proposals who meet HSSA criteria in one of its research categories. HSSA has invested nearly $5 million to date in health science research and infrastructure grants. This includes over $20 million in extramural federal grant funding to Spokane. More information about all HSSA grants may be found at www.hssaspokane.org.


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SPOKANE, WA – The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County recently announced that it has awarded a total of nearly $235,000 in one-year grants to increase access to health care for certain populations in Spokane County. These grants were in response to HSSA 2016: ‘Access to Care’ Grant Competition #11 that is intended to Increase Access to Health Care in Spokane County through Innovative and Collaborative Health Service Delivery.

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