Update on the Future of Project Access®

May 14, 2019

Background: Since 1996, WCMS Foundation’s Project Access® has served the local community as a dedicated network of now more than 700 independent and employed physicians providing free/low cost healthcare to low income, uninsured, under-resourced residents in Buncombe and Madison counties. Project Access® is not health insurance, it is however a way to help our community members stabilize their health so that health insurance is more attainable. This comprehensive network includes primary care physicians/providers (eg,  4 FQHCs, MAHEC), specialists, HCA/Mission Hospital, labs, imaging, physical and occupational therapy, medication/DME funding, local pharmacies, WCMS Interpreter Network, mental health providers, community service navigators, social service agencies, optometrists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and more. WCMSF is a certified application entity for the ACA; we enroll eligible Project Access® patients into the Marketplace so that they have private health insurance.  Project Access®  been replicated in hundreds of communities across the country.


The network continues to grow; for example, we now screen and refer patients for food security, transportation, housing, employment and interpersonal violence. Patients between the ages of 50-64 are offered free colorectal cancer screening, colonoscopies and treatment via the WNC Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative.


Future: There have been a number of questions and some confusion about the future of Project Access® now that Mission is part of the HCA system and HCA’s new charity care program is in place. HCA and its affiliates in Buncombe County will continue participating in Project Access®.   WCMS has been working closely with HCA leadership to ensure that we are on the same page regarding participation, policies, and procedures.

If you have any questions or concerns about Project Access®, please contact Miriam Schwarz, WCMS CEO, at ceo@mywcms.org.

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