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(Left to right) Roanne Selinger, MD, Northwest Gastroenterology Associates; Michelle Steele, BSN, Eastside Endoscopy Center; and Raj Butani, MD, Overlake Internal Medicine—GI
When Project Access Northwest first began in King County in 2006, Dr. Roanne Selinger brought the idea to the board at the Eastside Endoscopy Center, a joint venture of Overlake Internal Medicine Associates—Gastroenterology and Northwest Gastroenterology Associates based in Bellevue and Issaquah. As a result, these gastroenterology groups were among the first to volunteer. There’s clearly a family passion for caring for the uninsured. Dr. Selinger’s father, Samuel Selinger, MD, was one of the founders of Spokane County Medical Society’s Project Access program, the first in the state of Washington.
“Before Project Access Northwest began, we sometimes wouldn’t see these patients until they came into the emergency room or hospital, when they’re much sicker regardless of what the issue is,” said Dr. Selinger. “It costs the patient more money, the hospital more money and the taxpayers more money. It’s great when we can provide care sooner and be proactive rather than reactive.”
Dr. Raj Butani agrees. “It seems to work like a well-oiled machine,” he says. “The [care coordinator] from Project Access Northwest communicates directly with Bonnie Hagglund, one of our office coordinators, to make sure all the paperwork is squared away. By the time I see the patient, all of that is done. There’s good contact information and good response. I’ve never NOT received the records that I need to help evaluate a patient!”
“Project Access Northwest sends us patients who arrive on time, they don’t miss their appointments and they’re very courteous and respectful. They want to get better and are very encouraging patients to treat,” adds Michelle Steele, nurse administrator of Eastside Endoscopy Center.