Project Access NOW Programs
The mission of Project Access NOW is “…to improve the health of our community by creating access to care and services for those most in need.”
We support outcome-focused, comprehensive, community-wide solutions strategically tailored to meet the changing needs of our community. As we continue with our core work of connecting low-income uninsured people to donated healthcare services, our focus has expanded to include innovative initiatives and partnerships that go beyond simple healthcare to also address the social determinants of health.
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.
Not taking your prescription medication can mean rolling the dice with your life: it’s stressful, it’s dangerous, and it’s almost always a choice made under great duress. Seven out of ten Americans currently take at least one prescription medication while four out of ten Americans have reported making financial sacrifices in order to afford the prescription medications they take. We think those two statistics constitute a healthcare crisis, one that our Pharmacy Bridge program works to improve.
Pharmacy Bridge offers Project Access NOW clients (and some non-client patients of clinics with whom we partner) access to medications a primary care physician has determined they need to be healthy. The clients our program serves can’t access their meds, either because they don’t qualify for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act or because they don’t make enough money.
Through Pharmacy Bridge and the generous support of our partners at Providence Health Services, these folks can receive the meds they need at no- or very reduced-cost, usually just a $4 copay.
Formed almost simultaneous to the founding of Project Access NOW, Pharmacy Bridge is one of our longest-running programs, as well as one of our most used. In 2016 alone, it filled 11,942 prescriptions – that’s a lot of people who didn’t have to skip meals or lose their home to be able to afford the medicine they need to live.
“What would my family have done, my children, if I’d had another heart attack?” wondered Pharmacy Bridge client Maria when lack of health insurance forced her to consider not taking her blood-pressure medication. “Now, I have access to the medicine I need to take care of myself and keep me out of the ER. I paid a $4 copay and I’m proud to do so.”
If you take medication and are grateful you can afford it, we invite you to join us in celebrating 10 years of Pharmacy Bridge by clicking here to sign up for a recurring donation to Project Access NOW. Consider doing what our supporter Judith does and donating an amount equal to the copays she pays for her own medication. “Like a lot of people, I take access to the meds I need for granted. I’m proud that, thanks to me and Pharmacy Bridge, someone else gets to do that too.”
Your generosity makes our clients’ lives better. Thanks for supporting Pharmacy Bridge and Project Access NOW.