Project Access Northwest and PacMed
PacMed is a founding member and proud partner of Project Access Northwest.
Project Access Northwest is a non-profit 501(c)3 formed in 2006 to improve access to specialty health care for low-income and uninsured patients. It matches volunteer specialty care providers and hospital partners with carefully pre-screened patients in need of care. PacMed continues to participate in the volunteering of care, time and resources.
Originally started in King County (Washington state), it has since expanded its service area to include Kitsap and Snohomish counties. Project Access Northwest also provides dental care in King County to qualifying Northwest Kidney Center patients.
From 2016 to 2020, PacMed cared for almost 2,500 patients in partnership with Project Access Northwest.
Care Coordination – How do patients get connected with specialty care?
Patients must be referred by a primary care provider.
- Care coordination ensures that low-income people have access to necessary and appropriate specialty care.
- A qualifying patient who gets care at any Community Health Center, free clinic or faith-based clinic in King, Kitsap and Snohomish County can be referred to Project Access Northwest when their primary care provider feels they need care beyond what is possible in the primary care setting.
- Project Access Northwest will connect these patients to one of more than 1765 volunteer providers in more than 50 specialties, including cardiology, neurology, and oncology, to name a few.
- The care is free of charge if the patient is uninsured and, if they have Medicaid, the provider bills Medicaid directly (only about 3% of our patients).
- Project Access Northwest also partners with every hospital and hospital system in our region, which donate hospital-based services.
- Lastly, the organization partners with radiologists and other ancillary providers so that these services are also donated.
- This program allows people to get the care that is often financially out of reach to our population, yet critical for them to remain employed, healthy and able to participate in their community.
Project Access Northwest also developed a statewide Premium Assistance program to assist those who are eligible to purchase private health insurance on the Washington Health Benefits Exchange but for whom paying the premiums is a financial hardship.
Premium Assistance – Supporting low-income individuals by paying their insurance premiums
Many of the large hospitals and hospital systems in this region provide funds to Project Access Northwest to help pay the premiums for low-income individuals who seek to purchase insurance on the Health Benefits Exchange but cannot afford the payments. The hospital funder refers a client to Project Access Northwest and, if qualified (300% of Federal Poverty Level and below, in the U.S. legally, file taxes), the patient is enrolled into a qualifying silver-level plan. Project Access Northwest then pays the premiums for the remainder of the calendar year. This improves the patient’s health, allows for conditions to be handled when they first present rather than after they have become emergent, and reduces the burden of charity care on hospital systems.
To learn more, here are some fast facts about the program: