September 6, 2022

Specialty health care funding will serve low-income patients

Kaiser Permanente will provide Project Access Northwest with specialty care funding to serve hundreds of Washington patients a year.

Contact: Linnae Riesen

SEATTLE — More than 785,000 people in Washington were living in poverty and 428,000 did not have health insurance in 2021, according to Project Access Northwest. People with difficulty accessing specialty care may not receive equitable health care.

Kaiser Permanente in Washington is proud to partner with Project Access Northwest and announce $725,000 to support its Specialty Care Coordination Program, with funds to be distributed over a 3-year period.

Project Access Northwest collaborates with the health care community to provide medical care for individuals with low incomes or are uninsured and have limited access to care. Specialty care coordinators help patients navigate a sometimes-complex health care system and connect patients with compassionate doctors willing to provide the specialty services they need.

The organization coordinates specialty care for patients who are referred from primary care providers at Federally Qualified Health Centers (including Country Doctor Community Clinic, HealthPoint, International Community Health Services, Neighborcare Health, Sea Mar Community Health Center, and Seattle Indian Health Board in King County; Peninsula Community Health Services for Kitsap County; and Community Health Center of Snohomish County and Sea Mar Community Health Center for Snohomish County).

Project Access Northwest partners with all of the region’s major health care systems and a network of more than 1,760 volunteer providers in King, Kitsap, and Snohomish counties to provide care in more than 50 specialties — all at no cost to the patient. Since 2006, the organization has provided specialty care access to more than 43,000 individuals with low incomes or who are uninsured, and living at or below 300% of the federal poverty level.

“Kaiser Permanente doctors and clinicians have donated their time to provide hundreds of visits for Project Access Northwest patients per year, including 197 in 2021,” said Christine Pizzute, MD, senior director of specialty care at Kaiser Permanente in Washington. “We are proud that this funding will add more providers to the specialty care network each year for 3 years, adding hundreds of new appointments to serve patients and contribute to better health outcomes in these counties.”

“With this 3-year grant, Kaiser Permanente has made a significant investment in the health of our community,” said Gary Renville, executive director of Project Access Northwest. “We are proud to partner with Kaiser Permanente on the critically important work of improving health care access for the most vulnerable patients who so desperately need care.”

Kaiser Permanente has provided more than $1.7 million in funding for Project Access Northwest since 2016, in support of its mission to improve community health by connecting those most vulnerable to vital health care services.

About Project Access Northwest

Project Access Northwest is a non-profit 501(c)3 formed in 2006 to improve access to specialty health care for the most vulnerable and uninsured patients. It matches volunteer specialty care providers and hospital partners with carefully pre-screened patients in need of care. Originally started in King County (Washington state), it has since expanded its service area to include Kitsap and Snohomish counties. Project Access Northwest also provides dental care in King County to qualifying Northwest Kidney Center patients. More than 1,760 licensed clinicians (physicians, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and others) have donated more than 62,000 patient appointment since 2006. For more information, go to Individuals interested in learning more about Project Access Northwest must be referred to the organization by their primary care or emergency room provider.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.