Access Now’s mission is to provide access to specialty medical care for uninsured patients of participating safety net clinics so that no patient goes without care for lack of a willing provider.
Access Now has been providing access to donated specialty care to the uninsured community in Richmond since 2008. The program was created by the Richmond Academy of Medicine at the request of the Richmond area safety net clinics. The clinics needed an entity to increase and coordinate access to specialty medical care for their patients. Based on the National Best Practice Model, Project Access, developed in Buncombe County, NC in 1996, Access Now joined more than 40 communities across the nation using this model for indigent care. Through this best practice model, medical specialists pledge to see a certain number of patients and provide a certain number of uncompensated visits each year.
Since 2008, we have received...
- Over 38,000 referrals for nearly 14,000 patients
- Coordinated nearly 80,000 specialty appointments with more than 1,476 medical professionals.
- The total reported accumulated value of care has been more than 50 million dollars to the uninsured patients in this region through the Access Now program.
Virginia has expanded Medicaid coverage to eligible persons who are at 0-138% of the Federal Poverty Level. We anticipate a portion of our patient base may be initially eligible. However, although the lower income portion of those whom we serve may decrease, that number will fluctuate greatly as patients move in and out of Medicaid coverage for various reasons.
As we learned in the past, the most vulnerable patients will not move back to being insured again once they lose coverage. Subsequently, the upper-income portion of our patient base, those not covered by expansion, is increasing as policy premiums and deductibles increase beyond patient ability to pay.
We are building upon lessons learned from the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare that access to insurance does not automatically equate to access to care. As patients lost access to health insurance, they mistakenly believed they were no longer eligible to receive care through the safety net and became lost to care. We are currently educating clients to come back in the event they lose Medicaid coverage. Our message to patients will continue to be, do not go without care.
Looking for a volunteer opportunity or a way to give back? Become a part of the Access Now community.