Dr. Curtis Thompson heads the dermatopathology company CTA Lab, which has participated in Project Access NOW for over a decade. The lab makes diagnoses from biopsies dermatologists and primary care physicians send there for analysis.
Easing the Burden
While Dr. Thompson or his team don’t see any patients, he says donated lab analysis often takes place at the beginning of a patient’s illness. Biopsies often diagnose melanoma, which inevitably results in many additional (and expensive) tests, procedures, and medications.
“The expenses for tests alone can be significant,” Dr. Thompson says. “Donating services helps us ease the financial burden of their illness for people who may have trouble paying.”
CTA Lab processes only about 1 or 2 biopsies a month as not all physicians know it participates in Project Access NOW.
Dr. Thompson says he wants to do more.
“I’d love to see more doctors know we can do this and work with us through Project Access NOW,” he says. “We could donate 5 tests a day”—the lab processes about 200 biopsies per day—“and it wouldn’t affect our workload or bottom line. No matter how many biopsies we get through the program, we’ll always be able to do them. We really believe in this.”
Dr. Thompson and his colleagues at CTA Lab find dermatologists are quite ready to participate. “They are willing and ready to get on board,” he says. “Our doors are open for referrals.”
In addition to working with Project Access NOW, Dr. Thompson is involved with Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, where he supported the building of the new clinic in Beaverton.
Dr. Thompson’s involvement in donating labs stems from his belief that the structure of the healthcare system in the U.S. requires all physicians to share their effort in treating patients. Healthcare places a burden on people who may have problems paying large medical bills, often sending them to bankruptcy.
“I believe in providing the same quality healthcare to people who have insurance and the ability to pay as to those who don’t,” Dr. Thompson says. “Since our healthcare system doesn’t always equalize, the onus is on us.”
In his mind, “Project Access NOW is such an equalizer.”