Project Access San Diego Helps Uninsured Get Needed Surgeries

Mar 21, 2011, 15:27 ET from San Diego County Medical Society Foundation

San Diego County Medical Society Foundation and Kaiser Permanente Treat 37 Uninsured San Diego County Patients

SAN DIEGO, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Approximately 37 people without health insurance and in desperate need of outpatient procedures will receive free medical procedures through Project Access San Diego, a project of the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation.  The procedures will be performed in partnership with Kaiser Permanente San Diego at the Otay Mesa facility on Saturday, March 26.

March is colorectal awareness month and Kaiser will be donating 22 GI procedures that include colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies. Kaiser will also be donating 15 general surgeries that include hernia repairs and gallbladder removals. In many cases, these patients have been living with pain and unable to work due to their medical conditions. Providing the surgery will put them back to work and allow them to provide for their families. Kitty Bailey, executive director, San Diego County Medical Society Foundation states, "For many people Project Access is their last hope to accessing care. They have knocked on many doors of which none have been answered until now."

More than 150 volunteers from Kaiser Permanente, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, operating room technicians, administrative staff, environmental services staff, laboratory technicians and pharmacists will donate their time to perform the procedures.  Senior Vice President and Executive Director for Kaiser Permanente San Diego, Mary Ann Barnes says the project embodies Kaiser Permanente's social mission, "Improving the health in our communities is embedded in our roots and our culture.  To that end, we share our assets, our research, our expertise, and we share ourselves."

To qualify for Project Access San Diego, an individual must live in San Diego County, be ineligible for public health programs, be low-income, and be referred by a community health center. Over 800 patients have received free specialty care, including both inpatient and outpatient surgeries and procedures, since Project Access San Diego's inception in December 2008.

Project Access San Diego is a coordinated, donated network of specialty services available to low-income, uninsured patients and is run in partnership with local healthcare facilities. Volunteers are the heart of Project Access San Diego's success as they selflessly give of their time to improve the health of people in San Diego County. One of the physician volunteers stated, "The gratification I receive from treating needy patients through San Diego County Medical Society Foundation's Project Access is unparalleled. The appreciation patients with awfully crippling arthritis show is worth far more than any copayment or insurance reimbursement can provide. This program reminds me of the basic reasons I chose medicine as a career." This past year over 500 volunteers have donated their time to increase access to healthcare for many uninsured and underinsured San Diegans. Participating medical facilities include Kaiser Permanente San Diego (, Palomar Pomerado Hospital system, University of California San Diego Hospital system, Tri-City Hospital system, Surgery One outpatient centers and the San Diego Outpatient Ambulatory Surgical Center.

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SOURCE San Diego County Medical Society Foundation