As the year comes to an end and we prepare for the opportunities ahead, I pause to reflect on our progress at Project Access NOW. I invite you to join me in our 2017/2018 Annual Report.
Social Determinants of Health
The redesign of health care from treating sickness to creating health has been under way for several years. For the better part of this decade we have been partnering with Community- Based Organizations (CBOs) and health systems to determine how best to address social determinants of health. Last year, in a culmination of six years of work with our partners, we crystallized our vision for a collaborative, community-wide effort into a name and identity.
The Regional Community Health Network (RCHN) is a framework for coordination and collaboration within and across sectors and for reducing duplication and improving the efficiency of all our efforts. This collaborative effort creates a network which coordinates care, services, and resources among dozens of providers to improve community health and equity in our region. The navigation network puts the family at the center of efforts, with a single point of contact within a community-based organization connecting them to the many services they may need across all of the sectors.
The coalescing of a broader vision thus served as a springboard of further work to strengthen partnerships, fine-tune systems, align efforts across different sectors, and create mechanisms to better track data for continuous improvement—while building on already existing strength as network facilitators. Our goal is to leverage and elevate the many important efforts already happening in our community. This work couldn’t be done without the CBOs that are on the ground with families making connections and doing what needs to be done for each family to meaningfully get access to the resources they need.
We are also working closely with the Oregon Association of Community Health Workers to align efforts and create a bigger and stronger workforce of Community Health Workers (CHWs). We see CHWs and other traditional health workers, such as Peer Wellness Specialists as an integral part of not only providing navigation services, but fulfilling other important roles needed to truly create healthy and equitable communities. Again, the strength of RCHN is its power to align and coordinate to bring out the strengths in all of the communities and populations that comprise our region.
This kind of visionary work would never be possible without investing partners. Several key health care entities have seen the potential for transformation in this work. Providence Health and Services, Oregon Health & Science University, Kaiser Permanente, CareOregon, PacificSource Foundation, and Health Share have all committed resources and, in many cases, are participating in RCHN efforts. We are fortunate all of our regional health systems are nonprofits embracing health care transformation and recognizing the value of community.
Despite the progress with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid, the need clearly remains: there are still uninsured people in our community, and many of those who do have health insurance still can’t access health care.
As we continue to address this need, we are improving and growing our services. Most significantly, the Classic program last year passed $50 million in donated health care to more than 25,000 patients since our first client was served in 2008. All other programs approached similar milestones of their own.
In the last three years, Project Access NOW tripled in size. Whereas in 2014, we had 12 employees, in the spring of 2018 we added our 43rd staff person to our ranks. After so many years of fast growth, last year we stabilized our staffing levels and implemented a number of improvements in service quality and efficiency.
Equity and Inclusion
Since our inception, Project Access NOW has been aware of the prevalence and impact of health inequities. Over the last year, we dug deeper and committed ourselves to developing shared vision of what equity and inclusion looks like within our organization and in our work interacting with a diverse community. I look forward to sharing our progress next year.
Today, it is with utmost gratitude that I present Project Access NOW’s 2017/2018 Annual Report. Your support, whether it comes as partnership, words of encouragement or donations, is what empowers us to do what we do. Thank you.