THUMBS UP: Free Care for Uninsured

September 16, 2008
Physician's Money Digest, February28 2003, Volume 10, Issue 4

Caring for the indigent is a situationmost doctors face in their medicalpractice. Pro bono care can swamp asmall medical office and patients whoneed further treatment by a specialistor who need prescription drugs oftencan't afford it. Project Access, a communityprogram launched in 1996 inAsheville, NC, aims to change that bywidening the menu of services providedto the needy. Now found in morethan 20 communities across the country,Project Access enlists as manyhealth professionals in the area as itcan, including specialists and pharmacists.Each doctor agrees to see 10 to15 Project Access patients a year, for asmany visits as necessary, which puts alimit on the amount of pro bono carethey provide. Patients are screenedfor eligibility; they must have a pressinghealth need, be uninsured, andhave an income below 135% of thefederal poverty level, just under $1000a month for a single person. For moreinformation, visit www.projectaccessonline.org or call 828-274-9820.