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 200% 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.
This program utilizes the Pathways Community HUB, 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. Fundamentally we are integrating healthcare and social determinants of health to improve community health.
Our largest effort, within the Community Pathways work, is the Rockwood Pathways Project. For almost five years, Project Access NOW has been working collaboratively with a number of social service organizations in the Rockwood neighborhood – located in east Multnomah County. Rockwood has great richness in racial, ethnic, and religious diversity. Rockwood is also a highly distressed area with increasing crime, dense poverty, and decreasing success in education, employment, and access to healthy food. Partner organizations in the Rockwood Pathways Project are committed to working collaboratively to improve the health of this community. We are doing this by creating a cross-sector navigation and communication system that holistically meets the needs of a family or individual through supported, equitable, and appropriate connection to care and services. The data collected in the project is then used to identify system inequities and assist in addressing challenges to work toward enhancing systems that better benefit the people they serve.