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Client Stories

Elvia’s Story

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Elvia and Project Acces NOW care coordinator Marisela Marquez. Photo by Soulayvanh Beisel

Elvia and Project Acces NOW care coordinator Marisela Marquez.
Photo by Soulayvanh Beisel

Elvia, like many of the clients we serve, remains unable to access health insurance under the Affordable Care Act due to her undocumented legal status. She works hard to help support her family and even pays taxes but, when she learned that certain symptoms she’d been experiencing were due to severe endometriosis and would require immediate medical attention, she knew right away that the necessary procedure would likely be well beyond what she could afford.

“First I was worried about my health,” says Elvia, “but then I was even more worried about the money. I was stressed, my family was stressed, but we couldn’t find a way to pay for [the procedure] – I didn’t know what to do.”

Fortunately, Project Access NOW was able to connect Elvia to a primary care provider who helped her get the care she needed, free of charge.

“I am so grateful for the support that Project Access NOW provides for me and those like me whose legal status keeps them from getting health insurance,” says Elvia. “Without Project Access NOW, I would have had no other options. Thank you to all who make this service possible.”

You’re welcome, Elvia. And thank you for sharing your story. Your bravery and generosity inspire us! We were proud to have you speak at Mix It Up.

Noe’s Story

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Noe and Kim

Noe and Kim

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's Story

Monica’s Story

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CLIENT MonicaMonica 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’s Story

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CLIENT DarwingDarwin 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.”

Ann’s Story

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Ann and Sara

Ann and Sara

For years, Ann worked hard to keep her small business profitable and earn enough to live on without a lot left over for “frills” like private health insurance. That’s why, when the Affordable Care Act was implemented, she was optimistic about finally getting health insurance she could afford – at first. It turns out, when she applied for coverage under the Oregon Health Plan, Ann learned that her income was barely too high to qualify. Under the plan she did qualify for, the premiums and out of pocket costs necessary to access care were prohibitively expensive, forcing her to seek treatment at free clinics or even forgo care altogether.

“It’s great to have a piece of paper saying you’re insured,” says Ann, “but that doesn’t mean a whole lot if you can’t afford to pay the premiums and out of pocket costs, and there was just no way I could. I was terrified.”

That’s why Ann was so relieved when the Coalition of Community Clinics referred her to Project Access NOW and our Premium Assistance Program which helped Ann pay her premiums so that she could access the care she needed without going broke. And when Ann came down with fever of 103.6 one night in June, it was our Premium Assistance Program that gave her the confidence to go right to the emergency room instead of waiting for cheaper care in the morning, a decision that doctors now say likely saved her life.

“They said, at the rate my fever was climbing, I would have probably wound up either dead or with severe brain damage if I had waited. Your program was the reason I didn’t hesitate.”

Ann is grateful the Premium Assistance Program was there for her when she needed it. She enjoys giving back to the community and, with her sister Sara, runs the Community Quilt Project, making quilts for people facing illness and other hardships.