Press release provided by the Ohio Treasurer’s Office
COLUMBUS – The Appalachia-based iSee project – the first pilot project launched under the ResultsOHIO pay for success model – has exceeded key performance metrics established at the project’s outset, according to the final evaluation released today by the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center. In total, nearly 4,000 Ohio students received comprehensive eye exams throughout the two-year effort, and more than 3,400 were prescribed and received eyeglasses. The project’s conclusion marks the first-ever completion of a state-supported pay for success project in Ohio.
“Today’s announcement is a long time coming, and we’re proud to have taken the lead in reimagining how we tackle complex challenges facing the Buckeye State,” said Treasurer Sprague. “This inaugural effort through ResultsOHIO has not only found a vision services model that was highly effective in reaching students across an underserved region, but it also brought together public and private partners to pursue data driven solutions while protecting taxpayer dollars. With this project in the books, we hope more government partners will embrace the ResultsOHIO model and consider a pay for success approach when pursuing new and innovative pilot projects.”
In partnership with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO), Vision To Learn, and the Ohio Optometric Foundation, the iSee project used mobile vision clinics to provide in-school vision care to students in high-need areas across Appalachian counties in Ohio. The free services included vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams, and new prescription glasses.
“FAO is grateful for our partnership with Treasurer Sprague and the ResultsOHIO program, as well as our collaboration with the Ohio Optometric Foundation and Association and Vision To Learn,” said Cara Dingus Brook, Foundation for Appalachian Ohio president and CEO. “We had a proven way to provide vision care to children in need, but we needed help expanding it to reach more children. Through this innovative funding model and collaboration, we have provided eye exams to thousands of students, ensuring they have access to the vision care they need to be successful in school and in life.”
As part of the FY 2022/23 biennial budget, the General Assembly appropriated $1.2 million for the iSee project to be conducted under the ResultsOHIO pay for success model. The Treasurer’s office worked with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and its partners to develop and structure the contract, set performance metrics, and ultimately launch the project, which spanned the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years. As the independent evaluator, the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center was tasked with independently verifying whether the project’s performance metrics were achieved.
The University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center used two indicators to determine the extent to which the project would be supported by public dollars. The metrics include:
- Eye Exam Percentage: Percentage of students who received eye exams from Vision To Learn in participating Title I schools in Appalachian Ohio, out of the total students consented and referred.
- Eyeglasses Percentage: Percentage of students who received eyeglasses from Vision To Learn in participating Title I schools in Appalachian Ohio, out of the total students who were prescribed glasses.
During the duration of the project, mobile vision clinics provided services to students in grades K-12 in partnership with 23 school districts. After an initial screening, students were referred to the mobile vision clinics for a comprehensive eye exam. In total:
- 3,974 students received an eye exam;
- 3,418 students were prescribed eyeglasses; and
- 915 students were referred for a serious eye condition.
Upon the project’s conclusion, the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center’s independent evaluation found that the mobile vision clinics exceeded both target metrics to earn full reimbursement for the costs of conducting the pilot project. In total, 96% of referred students received an eye exam and 100% students prescribed glasses received new glasses – well above the targets of 90%.
“Thanks to the ResultsOHIO program, iSee with Vision To Learn was able to bring mobile vision care to thousands of school-aged children across 16 counties in Appalachian Ohio,” said Vision To Learn Ohio & Western/Central Pennsylvania Director Mark Scaramuzzi. “Through this partnership, we’ve worked to provide students with the eyeglasses they need to see the board, read a book, and participate in classes freely and more confidently. In all, we’re seeing to it that kids have the vision care they need to succeed in school and beyond.”
“Treasurer Sprague and his staff should be commended for the innovative ResultsOHIO program. It, along with the General Assembly, provided the support necessary for iSee with Vision To Learn to make a difference in thousands of children’s lives across the region,” said Ohio Optometric Association Executive Director and Ohio Optometric Foundation Board Member Keith Kerns. “Their partnership also provided validation of the program’s results which showed improved outcomes in school and increased awareness of the importance of receiving comprehensive eye exams on a regular basis. It is a great example of a successful public-private partnership, and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Launched by Treasurer Sprague in 2019, ResultsOHIO streamlines the pay for success process and enables policymakers to try bold, new ideas through pilot projects without jeopardizing taxpayer dollars. The ultimate goal of the ResultsOHIO model is to demonstrate the value of taking a pay for success approach to piloting policy solutions so that innovative strategies can be tested, proven, and eventually brought to a greater scale.
In August 2021, the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center was selected to serve as the independent evaluator for the first ResultsOHIO project. Serving as the independent evaluator, UC Evaluation Services Center was responsible for independently verifying whether the iSee project’s performance metrics were achieved following the first and second years of the two-year project.
The full report can be accessed online here.