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The Western Carolina Medical Society’s PACT (Project Access® Community Transitions) program was awarded a $150,000.00 grant from the Community Benefit Program of Mission Hospital for the 2013 fiscal year, beginning October 1, 2012.
“WCMS is responding to the challenge of an uncertain healthcare environment by recalibrating the successful Project Access® (PA) program in Buncombe County in 2013. WCMS is in a strong position to leverage its resources to bring a cost-effective and sustainable answer to community-wide access to healthcare. PA sites around the country are continuing to look to us to design the next generation of healthcare service delivery to the uninsured, low income populations,” notes WCMS Foundation Chair Dr. Brent Jeffries.
Adds WCMS CEO and Foundation Executive Director Miriam Schwarz, “Our goal is to continue to improve access to low-cost, high-quality preventive and medical care for all people in this era of health care reform. Let’s not forget that the number of uninsured will be reduced by only just more than half.” Reform purports to make every person in the country insurable, but not every person will, in fact, be insured. Based on estimates by the NC Institute of Medicine and the Urban Institute, about 750,000 to 1 million North Carolina residents will remain uninsured after 2014. With reform, assuming a county population of 250,000 by 2015, Buncombe County could expect to have roughly 25,000 uninsured people. In addition to a still substantial number of uninsured, the composition of the uninsured will change. For example, The Urban Institute estimates that 16% of uninsured adults will be exempt from the individual mandate because they do not have an affordable insurance option, and another 22% will be comprised of undocumented immigrants. Coverage gaps are anticipated given predicted churn rates between Medicaid and the exchanges. PACT will prepare PA for the changes needed to meet the health care needs of the uninsured population in 2014 and beyond.
Mission Hospital is a flagship hospital and one of six not-for profit hospitals that comprise Mission Health, Western North Carolina’s only locally owned and governed health system. Mission is the second oldest hospital in North Carolina. Today it serves the state’s 18 western-most counties with a Level II Trauma Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Center, Heart Center, Children’s Hospital, two air ambulances, the region’s only comprehensive cancer center, as well as specialty care in general surgery, orthopedics, women’s services, neurosciences and spine. Its Community Benefit Program is part of a 126-year commitment to give back to the community in meaningful ways that improve the health and well-being of all who live in Western North Carolina, regardless of ability to pay.
The Western Carolina Medical Society is the physicians’ voice advocating for the health of the medical profession, the health of the patient, and the health of the community. The WCMS Foundation is the physician and community-led charitable arm of the medical society, addressing issues of access to quality healthcare, disparities in health, and health & wellness. WCMS is located at 304 Summit Street, Asheville, North Carolina.