Specialty Care: Project Access

iStock_000007097023XLargeProject Access is a specialty care referral network administered by the PCC. It is composed of a dedicated group of health care specialists, local hospitals, and diagnostic facilities that participate in a coordinated effort to provide specialty care to low-income, uninsured community members. Project Access volunteers help these individuals gain timely access to needed specialty care, potentially preventing more serious medical problems or complications, avoiding acute hospitalizations, and reducing expensive medical bills.

Patients participating in Project Access are referred from Montgomery Cares safety-net clinics or Nexus Montgomery and continue to receive primary care through their home clinic. In FY 2017 a total of 1556 patients attended 3730 specialty care appointments arranged by Project Access.

Project Access receives referral requests from more than 11 clinic organizations and secures timely and appropriate access to specialty care services for patients with the highest priority needs. Project Access relies on the contributions of a dedicated network of approximately 100 local specialists who agree to see low-income, uninsured patients. We also partner with all six hospitals in Montgomery County to schedule surgeries and other hospital-based procedures.

Project Access Needs Volunteer Specialists

Over 60,000 low-income, uninsured patients live in Montgomery County, and that number continues to grow.  The overall demand for specialty care services in this population is far greater than Project Access can presently meet.  Uninsured patients who do not receive timely access to specialty care services often suffer complications requiring more extensive care or hospital admission.  Local specialists can help to alleviate this situation by committing to see a few uninsured patients each.

Services

Project Access provides referrals and care coordination for low-income, uninsured patients in need of specialty care. The specific services Project Access provides vary based on the specialty areas of the participating specialists and may include:

  • Audiology/Otolaryngology
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • General Surgery
  • Hematology
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Physical Therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Pulmonology
  • Rheumatology
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Urology
  • Vascular Surgery

Project Access staff evaluate each referral and arrange specialty care based on the urgency and severity of the case.

Eligibility

Project Access patients must be referred by a primary care provider. Most patients are referred from Montgomery Cares clinics. Eligible patients:

  • Live in Montgomery County or specified zip codes in Prince George’s County (20705, 20706, 20707, 20708, 20737,  20740, 20770,  20774, 20782, 20783, 20784, 20785)
  • Are 18 or older
  • Are uninsured
  • Have a low income (below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level)

Funding

Project Access is administered by the Primary Care Coalition and funded by Nexus Montgomery and the Montgomery County DHHS. Nexus Montgomery is a collaborative effort among the six hospitals operating in Montgomery County and a variety of community-based organizations including the PCC and Project Access.