Health systems pledge an additional $7.85 million to address health inequities

By January 1, 1900 No Comments

Regional partners see collaboration as key to improving community health

[Portland, OR – August 11, 2021]

Major health care providers – Adventist Health, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, Oregon Health and Science University, and Providence Health & Services – recently announced a renewed collective investment in Project Access NOW, a non-profit with a mission to improve community health and well-being by creating access to care, services, and resources for those in need. Since 2007, the regional health systems have invested more than $35 million to date to support health promoting services for the un-and-underinsured in our communities and have continued this commitment throughout the pandemic. Uniquely nestled amongst primary care, health systems and community partners, Project Access NOW has become a critical access point for health education and access, particularly for underserved communities. Across the suite of programs offered, Project Access NOW clients are largely low-income, non-native English speaking, and identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

Over the next three years, partners have pledged to contribute a total of $7.85 million, increasing their annual investment by over 55%. In a post-pandemic time requiring greater access to care needs, this targeted investment will support navigation for over 4,500 individuals between the region’s primary care homes and hospital systems, help 24,000 individuals enroll in Medicaid or another qualified health plan, and offset the cost of health insurance premiums for more than 1,000 Oregonians unable to afford their monthly expenses. In addition, these resources will leverage the organization’s outreach team, the majority of whom are bi-lingual and/or from immigrant communities, building on their trusted networks to address vaccine hesitancy and promote COVID-19 vaccination rates within the region’s culturally-specific communities.

Project Access NOW is a Portland, Oregon-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization known for its collaborative and equitable approach to community-wide health improvement efforts, as well as its longevity. Since 2007, the organization has provided a one-of-a-kind space for cross system collaboration. Major health care providers in Oregon have supported the organization throughout that time to promote work and positive impact in alignment with their Community Health Needs Assessments.

In more recent years, Project Access NOW has pivoted to support urgent and emerging community needs such as heightened enrollment during roll out of the Affordable Care Act and partnering with regional public health to administer over $1 million CARES Act and Oregon Wildfire relief dollars. Carly Hood-Ronick, Executive Director of Project Access NOW, says: “We know the health care environment is changing, with legislation like Cover All People. We are committed to continuing to partner with our regional health systems to evolve and ensure all have access to the resources needed to achieve their best health.”

Jennie Leslie, MD, Board Chair says, “After having served on the Board of Project Access NOW for years, I see now more than ever that PANOW is the glue that holds our broken medical system together. With a new leadership team and strategic plan, we refresh our focus on our core mission: to provide a common space for our region’s health systems to work collaboratively towards quality healthcare for all.”

We are proud to steward this historic investment in Oregon’s health care system,” says Hood-Ronick. “Over the past 14 years, Project Access NOW has provided access to health care, health insurance, and social resources for more than 60,000 Oregonians, most of whom come from our BIPOC communities. We are committed to promoting equity and to helping individuals better access Oregon’s health services – whether through individual needs or as advocates for systems-change alongside our partners.”

Contact: Carly Hood-Ronick, Executive Director | carly.hood-ronick@projectaccessnow.org

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