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Project Access Northwest: Two Projects to Increase Impact

Project Access Northwest opens doors to specialty medical care for low income uninsured people by removing the logistical and financial barriers to specialty medical care for patients and physicians.

More than 800 physicians and other health care providers in King and Snohomish counties currently volunteer with Project Access Northwest. Providers see uninsured patients at no cost. Project Access makes sure that patients are prepared for their appointments.

“Because of the assistance provided through the [501 Commons] plan, we’re in much better shape to continue to provide a much needed service to our community in the event of a large or a small emergency.  I have confidence that we’ll be up and operational again as soon as possible, thanks in large part to the excellent help we received.” 
-Sallie Neillie, Executive Director, Project Access Northwest

When a local study found that thousands receiving care from emergency rooms and community clinics were not receiving recommended specialty care, Project Access set about to increase its capacity to serve more people. The staff asked 501 Commons to help the organization assess internal operations, board structure and roles, and fundraising capacity, with the goal of increasing the number of referrals made to specialists.

Project Access worked with a consulting team that included 501 Common Executive Director Nancy Long, Pathways Program Consultant Penny Nelson, and four members of the Executive Service Corps, a program of 501 Commons.  The organization was able to improve internal operations, rev up its fundraising, clarify its strategic goals, challenge its partners to improve coordination of care, and expand the number of providers in the program. Neillie reported that she doubted all of these improvements could have been undertaken in as short a time frame without the support of the 501 Commons team.

After the project was complete, Project Access Northwest contracted with 501 Commons again for assistance in the development of the organization’s Emergency Plan.