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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where did the Project Access concept come from?

Buncombe, County (Asheville) North Carolina.  This is where the first Project Access was started by a group of Physicians from the Medical Society who were looking for a way to offer better care for the uninsured while also controlling the costs associated with that care.  For background information about these early beginnings, please see https://www.bcmsonline.org/pa/pp/.

2. When was the Upper Northeast TN location of Project Access started?
The planning for and initial operations of Appalachian Mountain Project Access (our full legal name) began under Kingsport Tomorrow as part of the Community Health Improvement Partnership in 2006.  In late 2007, Project Access opened the doors of its first independent office in Johnson City. In March of 2008, Project Access became its own individual 501(C)(3) non-profit organization.

3. Who were the keys leaders or stakeholders involved in the creation of Appalachian Mountain Project Access?

PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, OR DIRECT SUPPORT: Susan LaGuardia, Exec Dir, Kgpt Tomorrow, Lacey McDonald, Project Mgr, Ed Hannah, Project Mgr, Tony DeLucia, Professor ETSU, Jim Hunter, Sr Business Consult, ISHN/Crestpoint, Judy Rasnake, Dir Health Prom & Nurse Connect, WHS, Al Wargo, Exec Dir Friends in Need, Vivian Crymble, Comm & Govt Relations, MSHA, Helen Scott, Exec Dir Healing Hands, Dr. Dave Arnold, WHS, Healing Hands, Greg Neal, COO HVMC, Dr. Bruce Poitrast, Dir Health Initiatives Eastman Chemical, Mike Snow, CEO WHS, Dr. Richard Saluzzo, CEO WHS, Bob Burgin, CEO WHS, Eddie George, CEO WHS, Bart Hove, CEO BRMC, Blaine Douglas, CEO HVMC, Wally Hankwitz, Exec Dir Highlands Phys, Charmin McDavid, Comm Relations, WHS, Dennis Vonderfecht, CEO MSHA

FOUNDING/EARLY BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Dr. Anthony Oliva, CMO HVMC, Andy Hall, Comm Relations, WHS, Dr. Paul Brown, ETSU IM, Dr. Jack Butterworth, Exec VP Medical Affairs BRMC, Dr. Stephen Combs, VP Medical Affairs, WHS, Dr. Dan David, Health Alliance PHO, Dr. Jeff Farrow, Pulm Assoc JC, Dr. John Franko, Prof & Chair Dept of Fam Med, ETSU, Gary Mayes, Dir Sull Co Hlth Dept, Dr. Jerry Miller, Founder HMG, Elliott Moore, VP Comm & Govt Relations, MSHA, Dr. Mark Overbay, Family Practice, Dr. Benjamin Scharfstein, Surg Assoc BRIS, Dr. Larry Schmidt, GI Associates

4. Where are you located?
809 South Roan St, Ste 4, Johnson City, TN 37601 in the Appalchian Professional Building.  We were formerly (in 2013) located on Elm St (less than 1 mile away).  Our mailing address is P.O. Box 973, Johnson City, TN 37605.

5. How do I get in touch with your office?
Our main office number is 423.232.6700.
Our fax number is 423.232.6707.
General email is Staff@ProjectAccessEastTN.org

6. What about Social Media?
Facebook Page: Project Access-East Tennessee
Twitter: ProjectAccess1

7. What hours are you open?
Our main office is open to patients and visitors 9:00 am – noon and 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.
Our phone lines are open 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.

8. Do you provide health insurance?
No.  Our Specialty Care Coordination Program involves matching low-income area residents with medical providers willing to donate care.  We do not reimburse for services rendered (we do not pay medical bills).  The Program mostly serves residents of Washington County, TN.  Some Carter Co, Johnson Co, and Unicoi Co may also qualify.

Our Health Insurance Marketplace Program involves helping individuals set-up accounts, complete applications, review and compare health insurance plans, factor in tax credits and cost sharing reduction, and enroll in plans.  This Program also involves extensive community outreach and education across the eight county region of Northeast TN including Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington Counties.

Our Insurance Premium Assistance Program involves the selection of some of our Specialty Care Coordination enrollees for direct monthly Premium Payments to their Insurer.  Those who are higher utilizers and/or have multiple, complicated specialty care needs are targeted.

9. Aren’t you like all the other Community Health Clinics?
No.  We are not a community health clinic.  We do not provide direct patient care.  Our Specialty Care Coordination (SCC) Program was brought to the area because the already existing community health clinics wanted help.  For our Specialty Care Coordination Program we coordinate medical services rather than directly provide them.  We bring together doctors, nurses, clinics, hospitals, and companies willing to donate their services to those in need with patients who are unable to afford such services.  We focus on specialty care, labs, diagnostics, surgeries, in-patient hospital care, and follow-up services.  We assign each patient to a specific social work-trained Case Manager, who follows him/her throughout the enrollment process/period.  We accept both working and unable-to-work individuals.  We do not charge for services. We conduct our area’s most thorough financial screening and insist that patients have no access to affordable health insurance.  We are not bound to any particular organization or group of patients, so all patients are  served based on greatest need and/or most likely to benefit (regardless of the referral source).  Health departments, community clinics, and faith-based organizations are able to refer to us for Specialty Care Coordination.

As American healthcare continues to evolve, AMPA evolves with it.  To provide the most comprehensive service, AMPA understands that we must routinely examine the needs of our community so that we can continue to lead with best practices.  To that end, Project Access focuses on Meaningful Access to Healthcare, whether for the uninsured, newly insured, or publicly insured.  

The Affordable Care Act provided us an opportunity to educate and assist individuals and families as they connect to health insurance, some for the very first time.  Our Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) Program started in August of 2013 with the awarding of a Department of Health and Humans Services Navigation Grant to our lead grantee SeedCo.  We are the only Federally trained and certified Navigators in Upper East TN responsible for the 8 county Northeast Region [Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington] and the additional 4 counties added for the 2015 Enrollment Period [Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen].  We are also a Designated Certified Application Counselor Organization, meaning that all staff are either Navigators or CACs, so can answer your questions.

In the ongoing pursuit of Meaningful Access, AMPA works with our Community Partners to strategize and perfect program options that might not be possible without joint commitment and resources.  In February 2014, AMPA was awarded a Community Grant to directly assist our patients with monthly health insurance premiums.  This Insurance Premium Assistance (IPA) Program is a pilot program and the first of its kind in our region.  AMPA sends monthly premium payments to the patient’s insurer of choice.  Patients are responsible for submitting premium statements and explanation of benefits.  All of our patients are screened for eligibility and enrollment in our Specialty Care Coordination Program and through our Health Insurance Marketplace Program.  A portion of our patients who have multiple specialty care needs which require high utilization of services will be targeted for our IPA Program.

10. How many Project Accesses are there?
There are over 90 Project Access type programs throughout the United States.  There are 4 in Tennessee, the others being in Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. Knoxville (http://www.knoxvilleareaprojectaccess.org/navigator.html)  and
Chattanooga (http://www.chattmedsoc.org/project-access) also provide Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators.

11. How are you Funded?
Most of our funding is through Grants.  Our Specialty Care Coordination Program is funded by the State of Tennessee, Department of Health, under their Safety Net Grant.  Our Health Insurance Marketplace Program is funded by the U.S. Department of House and Human Services, Navigation Grant.  We are a subcontractor under the Lead Organization, SeedCo.  For more information about SeedCo, click here http://www.seedco.org/. Our Insurance Premium Assistance Program is funded through a Community Grant from a local benefactor.

The remaining portion of our budget comes from individual donations and corporate contributions   We do not charge Patients for services.  If you would like to support our work, please go to our Make a Donation page http://projectaccesseasttn.org/donate/.

12. What is the background and experience of your staff?  
Social Work, Public Health, Nursing (starting 2014)

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