The Duke Endowment Awards WCMS $375K Grant

Asheville, NC Western Carolina Medical Society (WCMS) is thrilled to announce that The Duke Endowment has awarded the organization a $375K grant to ensure access to essential healthcare services for neighbors in Western North Carolina. This grant will support WCMS’s Project Access program, which provides a barrier-free avenue to comprehensive healthcare ranging from outpatient specialty care to inpatient surgeries for the uninsured in Buncombe and Madison Counties. Despite the positive impact of Medicaid expansion on WNC residents, not all individuals will qualify for coverage. WCMS recognizes the importance of ensuring healthcare access for those who may fall outside the Medicaid eligibility criteria. With support from The Duke Endowment, Project Access will continue to play a pivotal role in assisting patients who do not qualify for Medicaid and act as a resource to guide patients through the Medicaid enrollment process says Executive Director Karen Wallace-Meigs.

“The Duke Endowment’s continued investment in Project Access demonstrates the continued need for Project Access in our mountain community. WCMS believes that this support, as well as the support of our dedicated healthcare professionals and community partners, will ensure the continuation of healthcare access for all,” said Wallace-Meigs.

WCMS’ Director of Healthcare Access & Equity Programs Rosalia McHattie stated that she “witnesses the profound effect of this program on patient’s lives and is grateful for the continued support from The Duke Endowment.” Project Access has provided free or low-cost comprehensive medical care to low-income, uninsured individuals since 1996. This medical care ranges from primary care, specialty care, inpatient surgeries, mental health, and medications to interpreter services, referrals, and navigation for socio-economic resources.

About The Duke Endowment

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed $4.8 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

About The Western Carolina Medical Society

The Western Carolina Medical Society’s mission is to advocate for healthy communities, increase access to affordable healthcare, fight health inequities, and promote wellness in WNC. Since 1885, WCMS has been respected for its leadership and innovation in addressing issues of access to affordable health care, disparities in health, and wellness promotion. Throughout its history, WCMS has been at the forefront of working collaboratively with area organizations to address the health challenges facing our community’s residents.