By Kathryn Narumiya, PATC Program Director
Happy New Year!
One year ago, few would have thought that in just weeks, our places of business, worship, and pleasure would be severely limited or closed. Fewer still could have predicted the profound effect this would have on patient access to medical care.
Project Access Tarrant County was similarly affected. Sometimes we wondered how the program would continue. But, true to PATC tradition, we evaluated, collaborated, and devised a plan that fits our current reality.
Instead of attending in-person intake sessions with PATC staff, patients now complete the process virtually. Instead of delivering documents to the office, patients fax or mail them. And while some of our patients have had to be creative in how they access the necessary technology (who hasn’t?), every one of them has been able to make it work.
Reflecting on 2020, we are amazed at how much we were able to accomplish given the shutdowns and hospital limitations. PATC coordinated 382 medical appointments for 105 patients, including 20 surgeries and other hospital procedures during a period when access for even paying patients was severely limited.
We are always grateful for our volunteers and partners, but this year, we are especially thankful for our generous volunteers who continued to see patients and provide charity care during a time of uncertainty.
As I write this, hospitals are reaching capacity (again) and are postponing and canceling surgeries and procedures. As a result, PATC has several patients whose cases are on hold indefinitely. But this time, we know how to proceed. We have a plan and we will continue to take each day and each moment one step at a time until we reach the other side.