Project Access-New Haven (PA-NH) increases access to health care services for uninsured individuals in the Greater New Haven area and lessens the burden of the unmet healthcare needs of the uninsured in our community. By providing access to comprehensive, quality care in a timely manner, PA-NH also reduces health disparities and fosters cost savings for the local health care system.
PA-NH was founded in 2009 by a group of dedicated physicians who sought to address health concerns and inequities identified within the New Haven community, including: (1) A growing number of uninsured within the Black, Latino and immigrant communities; (2) A shortage of specialty physicians who will see uninsured patients; and (3) A lack of care coordination disproportionately affecting individuals from cultural minority groups and those with low health literacy.
Discussions with local stakeholders indicated that, although primary care needs were being met by community health centers and hospital-based primary care centers, access to specialty care and ancillary services was more limited, resulting in long wait times for appointments, disease advancement, and over-utilization of hospital Emergency Departments (EDs) and inpatient services. PA-NH, which is based on a program model that was developed in 1996 in Asheville, North Carolina and has been replicated in more than 50 communities across the U.S., fills this gap by providing timely access to specialty care and ancillary services and coordinating the delivery of comprehensive care to the uninsured.
PA-NH provides timely access to specialty care and ancillary services through a network of volunteer physicians who donate care and local hospitals that donate services. Since it’s inception, PA-NH has recruited more than 300 volunteer specialty physicians and engaged the full support of Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and the Hospital of Saint Raphael (HSR), both of which provide a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient services free of charge to PA-NH patients. PA-NH partners with local primary care centers and EDs to link patients in need of advanced medical care with this expanded network of providers.
At the core of the program are Patient Navigators (PNs) who help patients obtain needed services and facilitate communication between patients and providers. PNs work with referring providers to identify patients who may be eligible for PA-NH and facilitate referrals. They coordinate with referring and volunteer providers to assess patients’ health status and needs, develop individual care plans, and coordinate the delivery of services. PNs also work with patients to identify and address barriers to accessing care – for example, by coordinating translation or transportation services. By linking primary care providers with volunteer specialists and assisting patients in navigating a complex health system, PA-NH patients receive needed care in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner.
PA-NH is also committed to rigorous research and evaluation. PA-NH is currently collaborating with YNHH to conduct a Demonstration Project that will study the impact of our integrated health care delivery model on patient health status, quality-of-life, barriers to care, and health service utilization and cost, and assess the wide-scale applicability of the model – for example, to the Medicaid population.
Project Access-New Haven (PA-NH) increases access to health care services for uninsured individuals in the Greater New Haven area and lessens the burden of the unmet healthcare needs of the uninsured in our community. By providing access…