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FAQs

Curious about Project Access Northwest and our programs? We've collected answers to our most frequently asked questions below.

Still have questions? Email us at info@projectaccessnw.org.


    General

    • What is Project Access Northwest?

      Project Access Northwest is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps provide specialty health care to uninsured and under-insured, low-income residents of King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. Project Access Northwest depends on physicians, dentists (in selected areas), community partners and hospitals volunteering their time and services to see patients for free. Project Access Northwest offers three innovative programs: Care Coordination, Premium Assistance and Primary Link.


    Patients

    • How do I enroll in Project Access Northwest?

      As a patient, you cannot apply directly to Project Access Northwest. Instead, you should seek a referral from your primary health care provider. If he or she determines that you need specialty care and qualify for our programs, he or she can complete a patient referral form.

      Don't have a primary health care provider? We encourage you to visit a community health center near you.

    • Who is eligible for Project Access Northwest?

      To qualify for participation in Project Access Northwest patients must meet the following eligibility criteria:

      • Patient may be uninsured or have Medicaid. Project Access Northwest does not accept referrals for patients with Medicare only.
      • A patient’s household combined income must fall within 200% of the federal poverty guideline.
      • Patients must be referred by their primary care provider or a hospital or emergency department. After the referral, the Project Access Northwest care coordinator will schedule an intake appointment.
      • Patients will be seen in the county in which they live. Our service area includes King, Kitsap and Snohomish counties.
    • When will I be approved by Project Access Northwest?

      Project Access will determine status of your referral when we have everything we need to complete the review. A complete referral requires a completed enrollment form, a completed referral from your primary care provider as well as supporting financial, if uninsured, and medical documentation. Generally speaking, a majority will be reviewed and a determination made within 30 days.

    • What do I do about my outstanding bill?

      Sometimes a billing error occurs and you may receive a bill.  If you receive a bill, please contact Project Access Northwest at 206-788-4559 or you can fax it to us at 206-382-3507.  Most times, we can simply ask that billing be “written off.”  On occasion, services may not be available through Project Access Northwest and you may have to pay for the service. We can help you work with the provider to apply for charity care.

    • Who pays for the appointment?

      Our volunteer providers do not charge any money for their services. If you have Medicaid, our providers will bill Medicaid and be reimbursed. On occasion, services may not be available through Project Access Northwest and you may have to pay for the service.

    • How long will it be before my appointment?

      We cannot give a specific answer. Services provided are not urgent or emergent and we work with providers to obtain the first available appointment. If the provider’s office is booking out, your appointment will be booked out.

    • Is Project Access Northwest a medical provider group? 

      No. Project Access Northwest is not a medical provider group. Project Access coordinates specialty care with providers in the community who have agreed to you see you for your medical or dental need. Keep in mind that your primary care provider must make a referral to us.

    • Which counties do you serve?

      Project Access Northwest coordinates medical services in King, Kitsap and Snohomish Counties and provides dental services in King and Snohomish Counties.

    • ​English is not my primary language. Does Project Access Northwest offer interpreter services?

      On an individual and as-needed basis, Project Access Northwest provides interpretative services.

    • ​Is there a limit as to how long a patient can be enrolled in Project Access Northwest?

      No. The average enrollment in Project Access Northwest is approximately six months. Patients are rescreened for eligibility at that time if their specialty care is not yet complete.

    • What services are available to me through Project Access Northwest?

      Project Access Northwest can help patients access a wide range of medical and dental specialty care. The list of specialties will vary depending on availability of providers.

      Project Access Northwest may also cover the cost of laboratory tests, imaging and x-rays and durable medical equipment.

      Please note that Project Access Northwest does not cover Emergency Room visits, ambulance expenses or prescription medication.


    Providers

    • ​How do I refer a colleague to volunteer with Project Access Northwest?

      We welcome doctors, dentists and clinicians referring others to Project Access Northwest! In fact, that’s how dozens of our volunteer providers have joined us.

      If you have a professional colleague interested in volunteering, please call H. Scott Shurtleff, Operations Director, at 206-496-1592. OR e-mail us at info@projectaccessnw.org, and we’ll contact your colleague to invite his or her participation.

    • ​What should I do if a patient isn’t following the compliance policy?

      Each Project Access Northwest patient signs a “Patient Responsibility” form that clearly states the patient will be unenrolled for failure to keep appointments and/or follow the provider’s instructions. Project Access Northwest will leave it to the discretion of each provider to determine if a patient is non- compliant. If you’ll communicate to us that there is an issue, we will take appropriate action.

    • ​Are there special forms I need to use for Project Access Northwest’s patients?

      There is a brief “Specialty Care Follow-up Form” to complete after each patient appointment. You will get the form to complete each time Project Access Northwest schedules a patient for a visit at your office. Fax this completed form(s) to (206) 382-3507 or (800) 579-1494. For any hospital admissions, please inform a Project Access Northwest care coordinator by calling (206) 788-4559 or (360) 579-1494.

    • What is Project Access Northwest’s pharmaceutical policy?

      The community clinics have stepped forward and committed to provide access to the lowest cost medications available to Project Access Northwest’s patients through their 340B pricing.

      Due to federal regulations, these are available only to patients who get their primary care in a community clinic or public health clinic. To obtain discounted prices on medications, Project Access NW patients must have prescriptions filled through their community health center pharmacies.

      If your office dispenses medication samples, we encourage you to provide these for Project Access Northwest patients as you would for other patients.

      For those patients needing medications for chronic conditions, the community clinics will assist them in completing the Prescription Assistance Program paperwork.

    • ​How many new patients would volunteer specialty care providers see each month?

      Specialists are asked to pledge to accept an average of two new patients per month (24/year). Each specialist determines what number of new patients per month he or she will see.

      Specialists will only see the patient for the specific referral request, and no other health issue. We ask primary care physicians to see one new patient per month and address all the patient’s primary care needs.


    Premium Assistance Program

    • ​What is Premium Assistance?

      Premium Assistance is a program of Project Access Northwest, hospital systems and other partners to help ensure that low-income people have insurance that is affordable. The program currently serves more than 120 households each year. The number served is based on the amount of funding committed to the program.

      Current Premium Assistance funders include:

      • MultiCare Health System
      • Providence Health & Services
      • Swedish Medical Center
      • UW Medicine—Harborview Medical Center
      • UW Medicine—Valley Medical Center
      • Virginia Mason
    • ​Why is Premium Assistance important?

      The Affordable Care Act requires that all people that have health care insurance. Access to health care insurance helps ensure that people can get the services they need, including primary care, specialty care and other related services.

    • How does Premium Assistance Sponsorship work?

      • A Washington state resident (not eligible for Apple Health/Medicaid or Medicare) looks for individual health insurance on the Health Benefit Exchange.
      • The individual finds the cost is a significant barrier to enrolling. He/she can’t afford the premiums.
      • The individual is referred to the Premium Assistance program by one of the funding partners.
      • The Premium Assistance Program determines that the person is eligible and meets all program criteria.
      • Project Access Northwest staff members work with the individual to enroll. The Premium Assistance Program pays all premiums (one policy year) for the Silver Level Plan the individual chooses.
    • ​Who is eligible for Premium Assistance?

      To enroll in this program, you must:

      • Be a Washington state resident that lives at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
      • Be eligible to purchase insurance in the Washington Health Benefits Exchange.
      • Be referred to Project Access Northwest by one of our Premium Assistance partners.
      • Share information available to the Exchange with Project Access Northwest.
      • Update your eligibility information, such as income and family size, on the Exchange throughout the policy year.
      • File federal income taxes to qualify for a tax subsidy. (If married, file jointly.)

    Primary Link Program

    • ​Why is Primary Link important?

      With Medicaid expansion in Washington state, more patients now have health insurance. However, many of them have not established a primary care home and still use the emergency department for primary care needs. Primary Link is a patient’s pass to a health care home. The program will help patients access the care they need at the most appropriate level.

    • ​Why is having a primary care provider important?

      Primary care providers are the quarterbacks of patient care. They help ensure that you get the right care, in the right setting, by the most appropriate practitioners.

      Primary care providers build long-term relationships with patients and get to know you
      as a whole person — both your health issues and your personal values. They also provide ongoing care for chronic problems like heart disease or diabetes. A primary care provider can treat your ills or ailments, and they can also notice health issues before they become serious health challenges.

      At Primary Link, we want to help you find the right primary care provider for you at a convenient location. We’ll help schedule and confirm the initial appointments you need and even call you with reminders.

    • How does the Primary Link Work?

      Primary Link staff will connect with a patient referred from the Swedish Emergency Departments or AHC within three days of being seen. Primary Link will connect with the patient by phone to help schedule and confirm an appointment with a primary care provider (PCP) at one of the community health centers, Swedish Family Practice Residencies or other safety net clinics. 

      The patient will receive the following information:

      • Confirmation of PCP appointment
      • Confirmation of other appointments/resources as appropriate
      • Time/date/location of confirmed appointments
      • Transportation options
      • Information about value of a primary care home and options to avoid the emergency department

      Primary Link staff will also place a reminder phone call 24–36 hours prior to the scheduled appointments.

    • ​Who is eligible for Primary Link?

      Primary Link focuses on patients with Apple Health (Medicaid) and those who are uninsured/ underinsured. We are partnering with patients who do not have a primary care provider or have never seen their primary care provider.

    • ​What is Primary Link?

      Primary Link is a program of Project Access Northwest and Swedish Emergency Services that will link Medicaid and uninsured emergency department patients to a primary care provider. The program will also work with patients who were seen at the Country Doctor After-Hours Clinic (AHC) and do not have a primary care provider.