Executive Director Sallie Neillie

Project Access Northwest is gearing up for a year-long celebration of its 10th anniversary in 2016.

by Sallie Neillie

Project Access Northwest is gearing up for a year-long celebration of its 10th anniversary. Having been with this organization before it even officially launched as King County Project Access in 2006, I am gratified by how far we have come and how much we have grown.

We have extended our program into three counties, created innovative new programs with community health care partners and helped more than 1400 volunteer providers annually provide much-needed care to patients in need.

I recently came across our first annual report—a simple, two-page typed summary of our accomplishments in 2006. While it pales in comparison to this year’s more elaborate report, I remember how proud we were of the 625 patients we served that year. It was a big number for us, and it proved we had a concept that could work. Today, we serve more than 5,500 patients annually!

In 2006, we also had just three employees focusing on serving patients in King County. Today, we have more than 20 employees serving patients in three counties.

We have extended our program into three counties, created innovative new programs with community health care partners and helped more than 1400 volunteer providers annually provide much-needed care to patients in need.

We have evolved our programs in ways we never could have imagined when we started. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2013 solved some problems but revealed many others, so we are constantly looking for new solutions.

Remarkably, many of our founding and collaborating partners listed in our 2006 report still play vitally important roles in our work today. These key partners have supported our work with creative ideas, financial and in-kind donations, and long-term collaboration and advocacy. They have made our work possible, and I feel a great sense of gratitude, especially for those who have been with us from the beginning.

So, what’s next?

I couldn’t have predicted how our program would change over the last decade, so I won’t pretend Iknow what the next 10 years will bring. But I am confident that, guided by our board and mission, we’ll continue to improve health care access for those most in need.