Become a Volunteer

Check out our Fall/Winter 2014 Newsletter
for our Volunteers and Financial Supporters

V&FS Newsletter Fall Winter 2014


Volunteers are individuals who choose to act for the betterment of others without the expectation of personal gain.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 27% of Americans volunteer.  This means that about 64 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2010 and September 2011.

Volunteer opportunities are numerous, occur in diverse settings, and require varying levels of knowledge or skills.

Volunteer Opportunities at Project Access  

1. Medical Providers

for previously participating providers Participation Plan 2016 Returning Providers

for providers new to our program NEW PROVIDERS Participation Plan 2016

a. Primary Care

Primary Care Providers are similar to General Contractors in the world of Construction.  They have some knowledge about a wide range of issues.  They are the first-point of contact whenever you have a illness, a health condition, or suffer an injury.  They help you understand the healthcare system and explain your healthcare options.  Your Primary Care Provider becomes an expert on YOU.  They can help spot potential problems, track changes, and refer you for further testing or consultations with specialists.

Though focusing on Specialty care and Related Services, Project Access does include Primary Care providers in our network.  Primary Care is made-up of individual practitioners as well as safety-net providers (local Health Departments, Community Clinics, and Faith-Based organizations).

[See the Medical Providers section for more information or give us a call at 423.232.6700] 

b. Specialty Care

Specialty Care Providers are similar to SubContractors in the world of Construction.  When it comes to specific functions or issues, they have an advanced level of knowledge, training, experience, and/or skill.  Primary Care Providers refer to “Specialists” to manage particular aspects of their patient’s care.

For a home, the General Contractor might need to call-in a Plumber or Electrician.
For a patient, a Primary Care Provider might need to call-in a Gastroenterologist or Cardiologist.

When we connect a Project Access patient to a specialty care 
provider for an initial consult or office visit, that provider (whether physician, nurse, or other qualified staff) has already agreed to donate his/her services at no cost to the patient (based on the confirmation that a patient meets our eligibility guidelines).  These are the same specialists currently seeing insured patients in their offices.


  Allergy & Asthma    Cardiology      Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery    Critical & Acute Care    Dermatology      Emergency Physicians     Endocrinology      Gastroenterology      General Surgery      Gynecology           Hematology                Infectious Disease      Internal Medicine             Nephrology          Neurology      Neurosurgery        Opthalmology         Optometry                Orthopaedic           Otolaryngology         Pain Medicine             Physical Therapy             Podiatry         Pulmonology         Rheumatology          Rehabilitation        Urgent Care         Urology

[See the Medical Providers section for more information or give us a call at 423.232.6700] 

c. Ancillary Services

Ancillary services help to diagnose, clarify, treat, and support the work of primary and specialty care providers. They can be classified into three categories such as diagnostic, therapeutic and custodial. If a physician sends a patient for a blood test, then s/he is using a diagnostic ancillary service. Instruction in proper exercise techniques from a physical therapist after repairing a patient’s leg bone is called therapeutic ancillary service. Nursing home care is a custodial ancillary service.

Supplies and laboratory tests provided under home care, audiology, durable medical equipment (DME), ambulatory surgical centers (ASC), home infusion, hospice care, skilled nursing facility (SNF), cardiac testing, mobile lithotripsy, fitness center, radiology, pulmonary testing, sleep centers, and kidney dialysis are examples of ancillary services.   (Source, Definitions, Healthcare)

To be an Ancillary Participating Provider, simply fill-out and submit the Ancillary Provider Participation Plan available here Participation Plan 2016-2017 ANCILLARY.  Each Participation Plan can be customized so that your abilities and preferences are respected.  Options include agreeing to see so many patients per month, donating a certain dollar amount in services each month, donating so many pieces of equipment for use, etc.  Then, just send us any claim forms so that we can track and report the amount of care donated.

d. Hospitals

for Referrals from Hospitals 2016-2017 HOSPITAL Referral Form Updated 03.2016

e. Equipment or Other Service Provider 2016-2017 Pledge Form Equipment or Other Service Provider

2. Patient Assistance 

a. Interpretation/Translation

Interpretation, or the explanation of something so that someone else can understand (usually an auditory/verbal process; alternatively, a visual process such as in sign language), is important in its own right.  When medical questions are asked and medical instructions given, the ability for two people to understand each other is paramount.  The qualifications to be a Volunteer Interpreter with Project Access are described below.

An Interpreter’s Role is to remain neutral to outcomes and transmit information across the themes of Ethics, Empowerment, Confidentiality, Accuracy, Proficiency, and Impartiality.

Ethics – When the decision is made to involve an interpreter, the clients enter into an act of trust.  They trust you, the interpreter, will accurately transmit what each party shares without altering the content or intent.

Empowerment – As an interpreter, your goal is to facilitate communication between individuals and/or groups who do not speak a common language.  The individuals communicating should remember each other and their conversation.  You should be part of the background.

Confidentiality – As an interpreter, everything is confidential.  There is never a reason to repeat anything that went on in a meeting.

Accuracy – For an interpreter, accuracy means taking the meaning and intent of the speaker’s language and transforming that into the listener’s language.  Generally, that means word for word translations; however, there are times when the word used does not exist (or doesn’t mean the same thing) in one of the languages.  A longer conversation may be needed to communicate the meaning and intent of the speaker’s language.

Proficiency – Proficiency means knowing all the words in both languages you will be using.  An ethical interpreter will accept only those assignments that are within their level of expertise.  Take time for research and preparation.  Be informed of the concerns of all of the people involved.  Identify words that will be understood by the ethnicity of your clients.  Bring a bilingual dictionary.  

Impartiality – An interpreter is not a part of the interaction, meaning he/she should decline any requests for a personal opinion, advice, or recommendation.
                                                                                              [Source: Language Interpretation Guidelines, Mathewson, 2006]

Additionally, all Volunteer Interpreters must sign a Confidentiality Agreement.

Thank you to ETSU Medical Students for providing most of our Interpretive Services.

Translation refers to the written word.  It is the act of making something in one language available to the readers of another language.  For our purposes at Project Access, translation is needed for important forms and documents (once when they are created and again when requiring an update or change of information).  The qualifications to be a Volunteer Translator with Project Access are described below.

  1. Always translate into your native language unless you are near native or bilingual in the second language. Even then, bear in mind that most professionals translate only into their native language.
  2. If you do decide to translate into a non-native language, we strongly suggest finding a native speaker to check your work over before you submit it.
  3. If you are unsure of the meaning of a word or phrase, always either check the meaning in a dictionary, with a native speaker, or with the organization that requested the translation.
  4. Please don’t attempt to translate texts of a technical nature unless you are familiar with the material or willing to put in the (sometimes considerable) time necessary to research the topic.
  5. Don’t trust only one dictionary source.  Check monolingual and bilingual as well.  Also, try looking up the likely translation to make sure that it “translates back” to the source language correctly.  If you are still unsure, ask the organization or a native speaker.
  6. A literal word for word rendering of the text is not really a translation. You should always strive not only to convey meaning as precisely as possible, but also tone, and to make sure the translation reads well. 
  7. Be aware of the importance of the texts you are translating.  Medical documents, legal texts, and contracts are just some examples where the quality of your translation can be very significant and mistakes could be very damaging for the organization you are trying to help.
  8. Deadlines are important. Be aware of the difference between time sensitive documents (publications, grant applications, etc.) and other materials, like archives and non-essential program materials, where deadlines may be more flexible. Be sure to check with the organization about this first.

Work with the organization to assess the importance of accuracy in the translation before starting. What would be the cost of an error? The more costly an error, the more the document should be reviewed and edited, including a reviewer/editor who is not personally tied to the document.[Source: Translations for Progress, translatorsguide.php]Additionally, all Volunteer Interpreters must sign a Confidentiality Agreement.

Thank you to ETSU Medical Students for providing most of our Translation Services.

3. Community Compasses

Community Compass

Compasses are useful instruments which keep individuals from getting lost or overwhelmed when they are trying to get somewhere.  They are guides.  They literally point you in the right direction.  Community Compasses, then, are everyday community members who are interested in helping their neighbors get the information they are seeking.  Anyone can be a Community Compass, but the more you know, the more useful a compass you will be.

The New Health Care Law presents many volunteer opportunities which include:

(1) Dispelling myths

Help others learn or understand the truth from the false.

Untruths range from Myths to Monsters, meaning that some are simple misunderstandings or innocent guesses while others are blatant attempts to lead people away from something which might actually be good or helpful for them.

What are some of the most common Myths and Monsters we have seen so far?

X That the new healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, is a government sponsored insurance plan which dictates which care you will receive and not receive.  Call it the Presidential Plan.

The TRUTH is that the Affordable Care Act is a large piece of legislation of which the Health Insurance Marketplace is a piece.  The plans in the Marketplace are private plans offered by well-known Insurance Providers such as BlueCross BlueShield, Humana, United Health Care, Aetna, and the newest member on the block, the Community Health Alliance.  For government sponsored plans, please research Medicare and Medicaid.

X That the penalties are harsh and inescapable, especially for the lowest of wage earners.

The TRUTH is that those who do not earn enough to file taxes will not be responsible for any type of “penalty” (also called the “fine,” “individual responsibility payment,” or “individual mandate.”)  The list of exemptions (meaning the conditions that release you from the penalty) is actually quite comprehensive including, if

  • You’re uninsured for less than 3 months of the year
  • The lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income
  • You’re incarcerated (either detained or jailed), and not being held pending disposition of charges
  • You were homeless.
  • You were evicted in the past 6 months or were facing eviction or foreclosure.
  • You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months.
  • You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member.
  • Your individual insurance plan was cancelled and you believe other Marketplace plans are unaffordable.

For the complete list of exemptions, go to and type in Exemptions in the search box at the top of the page.

X That health insurance is not necessary, especially for those who are young and healthy, and it is smarter to save your money for when you need to purchase medical procedures.

The TRUTH is that most people are young and healthy at one time or another…until they are not.  Health insurance is similiar to car insurance, home insurance, or renter’s insurance.  You are purchasing peace of mind for the unexpected.  Most households could not possibly save enough money to cover major medical events. The average cost of one Specialist appointment is between $160-$280.  The average cost of an ER (emergency room) visit is between $580-$700 (just to be seen, no diagnostics, no labs, nor any Specialist who is called in to give his/her opinion; oh, and the ambulance ride is extra).  Emergency rooms are there to provide life-saving treatment ONLY.  If you have a non-life threatening condition and are uninsured, be expected to pay 50% (or half) of costs upfront before being treated.

Many 20-somethings enjoy school-based sports and extracurricular activities.  In fact, the No. 1 cause of death of young people are accidents.  Look below for a price estimate for one Lower Leg Fracture Surgery.  For more estimates, visit

Lower Leg Fracture Surgery

Total Fair Price:$15,581

Hospital Services

Fee: $13,113
Fee Details: Price is for a 5 day admission. More days charged at $1,800 per day. Fewer days will reduce price by $1,800 per day.

Physician Services

Fee: $1,712
Fee Details: Physician fee for procedure and routine postoperative care. Surgical repair of broken lower leg.


Fee: $756
Fee Details: Price is for an average surgery time of 2 hours and 15 minutes. Prices may go up or down based upon the actual surgical time required.
(2) Answering general questions

Help others learn or understand some of the general information surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act on March 31, 2010. Together, these two laws are referred to as the Affordable Care Act. This law was signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional in 2012.  This is a Federal or National Law.  States have the right to decide if they want to expand their Medicaid criteria so more low-income individuals and families can become insured, but they cannot decide whether or not to participate with the ACA Law.  The ACA has parts targeted at Insurance Companies, at medical Providers, and Individuals.  Everyone is responsible.

The State of Tennessee has chosen to not expand Medicaid at this time.

But, Nationwide 3.1 million young adults have gained insurance through their parents’ plans (until age 26).

6.1 million people with Medicare through 2012 received $5.7 billion in prescription drug discounts.

34 million people with Medicare received a free preventive service.

71 million privately insured people gained improved coverage for preventive services.

105 million Americans have had lifetime limits removed from their insurance.

For more general information about the Affordable Care Act, please visit

(3) Assisting with marketplace basics

Help others learn or understand some of the fundamentals about the Marketplace.

You can Create an Account or Update your Account any time throughout the year.
You can view Health Insurance Plan estimates for indivduals in your area throughout the year.

You can only APPLY for a Marketplace Plan during an Open Enrollment Period [unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period].  The first Open Enrollment Period (OE1) was October 1st 2013-March 31st 2014.  OE2 was November 15th 2014-February 15, 2015.  OE3 was November 1st, 2015 – January 31st, 2016.  OE4 is expected to be November 2016 – January 2017.

You can apply using a Paper application, by Phone, using the Internet, or In-Person.  Project Access has both Certified Application Counselors and Federally trained Navigators to assist you.

Starting January 1, 2014, all TennCare Applications also go through the Marketplace.  The Department of Human Services is no longer handling these applications.  TennCare Applications are accepted ANYTIME during the year…there is no Open Enrollment for them.  Project Access can help you apply for TennCare.

Special Enrollment Periods are triggered by Qualified Life Events.  Examples of these include

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Having a baby, adopting a child, or placing a child for adoption or foster care
  • Moving your residence, gaining citizenship, leaving incarceration
  • Losing other health coverage—due to losing job-based coverage, the end of an individual policy plan year in 2014, COBRA expiration, aging off a parent’s plan, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, and similar circumstances. Important: Voluntarily ending coverage doesn’t qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Neither does losing coverage that doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage.

Please check out the Video “Do You Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?

(4) Referring to Navigators or Certified Application Counselors

Help others know where they can go for local assistance.

There are three main types of Certified (or officially trained) Assisters who undergo training, ongoing education, and are under the supervision of another agency and/or licensing board.

Navigators – In the State of Tennessee, 2 Grants are given by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to fund Navigation efforts.  For Year 1: 2013-2014, one grant was awarded to SeedCo [Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation and the other to the Tennessee Primary Care Association.  Project Access served as a subcontractor under SeedCo. TPCA dedicated one Navigator to the Northeast TN Region, who worked out of Nashville, and oversaw the Federally Qualified Health Centers (such as the Johnson City Community Health Clinic and the Rural Health Consortium). For Year 2: 2014-2015, SeedCo was again awarded funds and continues to serve as the lead Grantee for a state-wide collaborative of non-profit organizations.  Project Access continued as a subcontractor, responsible for the eight county region of Northeast TN, plus the four additional counties added for the 2014-2015 Grant Year: Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, and Hamblen.  APA (Advanced Patient Advocacy) was the other group awarded Navigator funding.  Their Navigators were available at Mountain States Health Alliance hospitals in TN (specifically, Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City, Indian Path Medical Center in Kingsport, and Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton).  For Year 3: 2015-2016, Family & Childrens Service in Nashville (, and The Wellmont Foundation ( were awarded the State’s Grants.  Project Access continues as a subcontractor under Family & Childrens Service.  We have returned to our original 8 Upper Northeast County Region.  Family & Childrens partners with Enroll America (,,, Get Covered Tenn (,,, and the Tennessee Health Care Campaign (,

For Virginia Residents, please contact Enroll Virginia  Navigator, Marcie Barnes,, 1.855.207.5636.

Certified Application Counselors – In the State of TN, the Health Resources and Services Administration provided funding to Federally Qualified Health Centers for Certified Application Counselors.  There are also some CACs at Non Profit Organizations (for example, Project Access has CACs as well; we do not receive any funding for providing thise service) and Program Specific CACs (such as at the Health Department for the Ryan White and the Breast & Cervical Cancer Programs).  CACs are not allowed to charge for services.

Please call Project Access at 423.232.6700 for assistance.

For Virginia Residents, please contact Enroll Virginia (1.855.207.5636) or Advanced Patient Advocacy at Johnston Memorial Hospital .  Other APA locations can be found at

Insurance Agents/Brokers – In the State of TN, individual Agents and Brokers an also help individuals sign-up for health insurance policies.  It is important to remember that they can make specific recommendations about which plan you should enroll in (Navigators and CACs can help you compare plans but cannot choose the plan for you). Agents and Brokers are also licensed and regulated by states (Project Access also must register and comply with Tennessee’s Department of Commerce and Insurance) and typically get payments, or commissions, from health insurers for enrolling a consumer into an issuer’s plans. Some brokers may only be able to sell plans from specific health insurers.

If you suspect fraud, report it! Call the Health Insurance Marketplace consumer call center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

Italics indicate information taken directly from

 (5) Supporting Marketplace Enrollment Events

Help others know where events are happening in their community and make the process an even better one by being there yourself.

Project Access could always use individuals who can help keep enrollment events organized and running smoothly. Answering basic questions, directing individuals to the bathroom or to the CAC/Navigator when they are ready, keeping a list of waiting attendees, or even helping “triage” cases by helping some attendees sign-up for email accounts.  Even posting a Marketplace Event for your social networks can help us get the word out.  Or encouraging your group/organization to allow us to host an event at their location, allow us to post flyers, or link to our website.

Call us or email us if you would like to help out.  423.232.6700 Ext 103, 423.676.3457, or


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