Linda, a native of rural Michigan, has had diverse experience in the world of health care, starting with public health community organizing in Central America with a non-governmental organization called Outreach International.
After moving to the Portland area in 1993, she spent 12 years working for Washington County, most of that time in the Department of Health and Human Services, where she worked as a Health Educator and Program Manager for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program.
Immediately prior to her work with Project Access NOW, Linda managed the Essential Health Clinic, a free urgent care clinic in Washington County.
Janet Hamilton, Deputy Director
Janet’s title of Deputy Director provides cover for her actual role as Fomenter of Chaos. At Project Access NOW, she combines removing barriers for our awesome staff and volunteers to effectively serve our clients with finding new opportunities to make those services as comprehensive as possible. She is passionate about winning the War on Poverty, which by the way, has not yet been won.
A recovering Californian, Janet fell in love with the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990s when she traveled here regularly for her work as a healthcare information systems consultant, a profession she has yet to fully shed despite various career forays as a coffee shop/specialty grocery store-owner, organizational development consultant, mediator, and even one day of law school.
When not at work, you can find Janet coaxing her tomato plants through the spring gloom, overspending at a farmers market, or paddling on one of Portland’s fabulous waterways.
Shannon Kelley, Office Administrator
Shannon is currently our Office Administrator and enjoys the wide variety of roles and responsibilities included in any given day. Among other things, she’s responsible for HR, accounts payable and receivable as well as various financial reports and general support to our executive management team, finance committee and board.
“It’s an honor and privilege to work with such an outstanding team and brilliant leadership. In the 2+ years I’ve been with Project Access NOW, I’ve witnessed tremendous success and the creation of four new, much needed community based programs. What we do as a team is exciting and powerful.
Shannon is a huge dog fan and adores spending time with her golden doodle, Doyle Dog and standard poodle, Gracie Jean. “What a joy to come home after that daily commute to east Vancouver and be greeted with such unconditional love. Other spare time activities include board games with friends, serving on the board of my neighborhood association, and yes some TV time. She currently hooked on Dancing With the Stars, Shark Tank, The Profit, and Scandal!
Project Access NOW continues to works with all of the hospital systems and most of the major specialty and multi-specialty clinics in the Portland Metro area to provide donated care to those who remain uninsured and who meet specific income guidelines.
The majority of our Classic clients are immigrants, undocumented and documented, who are unable to receive health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid expansion. While the number of individuals this program is actively serving has returned to pre-ACA levels, the amount spent on interpretive services and per-member, per-month medication costs has increased.
The people served by our Classic program need Project Access NOW today, more than ever.
Many times, when low-income people are discharged from a hospital stay or emergency room visit, they face barriers that stand in the way of their recovery. With the C3 Community Assistance Program, we support discharge planners, social workers, and care managers as they work to connect low-income patients to the resources they need for a safe discharge. These resources include things like transportation, temporary housing, and medical assistance.
Providence Health & Services has been our development partner with this initiative and we expect expansion to other hospitals systems as well as providing the infrastructure for non-medical services for Medicaid members to be paid for by Coordinated Care Organizations.
One very important strategy to support our mission is to get people who qualify for coverage enrolled and able to use their health insurance. In February 2014, we began piloting a Premium Assistance Program. Premium Assistance participants earn below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level, which previously qualified them for 100% discounted services with hospital systems and other healthcare providers. As of January 1, 2014, however, these people are now required to pay premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, and prescription costs, placing private insurance out of reach for many of them.
Project Access NOW leverages the tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available to participants to pay the balance of the premiums for the medical and dental plans they’ve selected. Our volunteer network supports program participants by writing off the remaining out of pocket expenses. Thus, we are able to bring more revenue into the community by turning a previously uninsured client into an insured program participant.
Starting in February of 2015, we also began a pilot project to provide outreach and enrollment activities targeting low-income families. Now we are able to combine many of our strategies to make sure that everyone we touch gets access to the care they need, whether it’s through Medicaid, the Health Insurance Exchange, or our Classic Program.
The Community Pathways Network is a national model that focuses on finding those in need, supporting their successful connection to care and services, then measuring the results of those efforts. Successful implementation of this approach means that people receive the care and services they need to be healthy in a way that is trauma informed, culturally specific, effective, and efficient. This approach has demonstrated improved health outcomes and reduced costs. We are implementing this model in partnership with social service and health care entities across the metro region. This networked approach allows us to address the social determinants of health in coordination with the health care delivery system.
The soreness and cramps in his groin, buttocks and legs were so debilitating for Noe, he was unable to stand up straight or to move in and out of cars as he was required to do in his job as a car salesman. So he had to stop working. With no job and no health insurance, Noe and his wife Kim weren’t sure where to turn.
They learned about The Wallace Medical Concern and went to the clinic for help. The team at Wallace referred Noe to Project Access NOW to help arrange for an MRI. The results revealed Noe had spinal stenosis. Physical therapy was not successful and it was determined that he needed to have surgery. Project Access NOW then connected Noe to microneurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Sandquist, of The Oregon Clinic.
Noe had surgery to correct the spinal stenosis in November of 2012. He quickly began to feel much better. He could stand upright and move freely and was soon able to return to work. He started out gradually and over several weeks was able to return to a full time work schedule.
Noe is glad to be back to work and can now enjoy spending time playing with his young grandson free of pain. He is grateful for the help he received from The Wallace Medical Concern, Project Access NOW and Dr. Sandquist.
“I feel so much better. It’s like a miracle,” he says. “Everyone along the way has been so helpful. They really seemed to care about me. I don’t know what I would have done if it had not been for Project Access NOW.”
Monica felt ill and had so much pain after she ate she could barely walk. A visit to the Essential Health Clinic revealed her need for further testing to determine the cause. Because Monica was unable to work and lacked health insurance, Essential Health Clinic referred her to Project Access NOW for help. A Project Access NOW care coordinator arranged for tests at Tuality Hospital, which revealed that Monica was suffering from a post-operative peri-umbilical hernia, the result of a prior cesarean section. Adding to her pain was the discovery of gall stones. Monica was connected with general surgeon Dr. Patrick O’Leary, who performed surgery to correct both conditions.
Monica says Project Access NOW was “a life saver,” Dr. O’Leary is “amazing and extraordinary,” and that “the world is a better place because of people like him and everyone at Project Access NOW.”
Monica’s life changed in many ways following the surgery. She was able to walk pain free again and could look for work as a graphic artist. She has been able to be so much more productive now and recently even presented an exhibition of her artwork.
Monica would like the volunteer providers and everyone affiliated with Project Access NOW to know how positively they impact the lives of the people they serve.
“They provide the opportunity to start life again, to allow people to be the best that they can. When you are healthy and happy, you have the opportunity to help others. It’s just wonderful and I am very grateful.”
Darwin has been diabetic for several years, but the disease had progressed to the point where he needed insulin every day. After he lost his job as a long haul truck driver in 2009, Darwin continued his health insurance through COBRA until it ran out.
When he started having trouble with his foot, as a complication from the diabetes, Darwin went to the Essential Health Clinic and was told he needed a primary care provider to manage his chronic condition and medications on an ongoing basis. Darwin was referred to Project Access NOW, who connected him to Dr. Roger Reynolds for his primary care. He was also connected Dr. Joyce Jenkins, of the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic, for treatment of his foot and, because he was having eye trouble as a result of the diabetes, he was also connected to Dr. Timothy Gard at the Hillsboro Eye Clinic. He receives his medications through Pharmacy Bridge and Project Access NOW’s Medication Assistance Program.
Darwin is very grateful for Project Access NOW and says every provider he has seen is “a human being of the first order. They are not in it for money. Each is first and foremost willing to give of their time and resources to help people. They became doctors for the right reason.”