(above) Dr. Jason Rogers examines Eve Sims at the Center for Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics
Melinda Garcia, nurse practitioner at CHI Community Health Hixson, suspected that the problem might not be eczema after all. She referred Jennifer to Project Access, which in turn referred her to Dr. Rodney Susong and his staff. With their expertise, she was diagnosed with plaque psoriasis, which now is being treated successfully.
“For 44 years, I was being treated for the wrong thing,” she says. “After all those years of suffering in pain, my ankles are now healed, and I can walk. Dr. Susong’s staff also helped me get my psoriasis medications for a year. I couldn’t be more thankful for Project Access and everyone who participated in my care. I feel blessed to have my long struggle come to an end through Project Access.”
Connie Love, practice manager for CHI Community Health Hixson, says Project Access is a significant benefit for their patients. “Approximately 49% of our patients are uninsured. Without the partnership with Project Access, many of them would never get the needed care for their acute and chronic health issues.”
Today, Andrea Stotts is finishing physical therapy and will soon return to work thanks to a successful shoulder surgery by Dr. Daniel Doty at UT Erlanger Orthopedics. “Without Dr. Doty’s help, I would not have been able to work much longer,” she says. “I am so grateful I can continue to be independent.”
Andrea also received treatment for throat cancer in 2007 and for skin cancer near her eye in 2017, both through Project Access.
“I certainly wouldn’t be working without Dr. Doty’s help, and I would likely have been dead without my cancer treatment through Project Access,” she says. “The doctors and hospitals have gone above and beyond in providing care. Project Access has literally given me my life back.”
An Invaluable Asset for the Community
Project Access was formed in 2003 by the Medical Society and Foundation in collaboration with area hospitals. For 15 years, the program has provided life-saving specialty care. The program’s panel of volunteer physicians has increased consistently since the program’s inception, and new health care partners within the community continue to provide growth and collaboration.
“We are able to coordinate donated specialty care, laboratory services, and hospital care for 16 community health centers in Hamilton County,” says Tonya Williams, the program’s director.
Dr. Robert Bowers, medical director of the Volunteers in Medicine health center, says Project Access is invaluable to the patients of the Volunteers in Medicine free clinic. “Project Access provides medical and surgical services that are otherwise unavailable to our patients. The program actually increases our capacity by allowing us to get care for patients earlier in their illness, rather than having to wait until they were sick enough to get emergency care.”