In 2001, at the invitation of United Way of Forsyth County, business and community leaders came together to discuss the growing number of medically uninsured in Forsyth County. A twenty member committee worked for two years reviewing options for increasing access to care, for which the Winston-Salem Foundation provided funding. What they found was that the community was rich in healthcare resources – Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Forsyth Medical Center, Downtown Health Plaza, Community Care Center and over 1,500 physicians positioned Forsyth County as a major health provider in North Carolina.
In July 2003 the committee acted upon the recommendations of the report by creating a private 501 (c)(3) corporation to address the unmet needs of access to care for the medically uninsured and HealthCare Access began. An eleven member board was created, the executive director hired, and Dr. Edward Beason began to recruit physicians to the new organization. In January 2004 the first patient was enrolled. Since then, HealthCare Access has expanded its service area to include five counties from its original three, and has enhanced its original goals with the passing of the Affordable Care Act by hiring a Marketplace Navigator.
Thanks to our participating physicians, we’ve created a new kind of network and we hope to continue to meet the needs of the medically uninsured and of the healthcare system.
HealthCare Access is committed to our patients’ ability to get the healthcare they need, and the best way for that to happen is for our patients to become insured. Therefore, we have a Navigator and Certified Application Counselors on staff to help those who may now qualify for insurance with the Affordable Care Act to become insured. We also have a guide to health insurance questions here where those new to insurance may find some assistance in understanding the complicated world of health coverage.
However, there are still those who fall in the gap between Medicaid and insurance through the Affordable Care Act, and our original purpose is as necessary as ever – to provide charity care to the low-income, uninsured community. We will still be here to create a link between those people and the medical community.