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  • A LITTLE INFORMATION ON PROJECT ACCESS                                      

    PATC is a breakthrough initiative approved by the Tarrant County Medical Society (TCMS) Board of Directors to provide healthcare access to the uninsured and working poor in Tarrant County.  TCMS has led the charge in the life of PATC, and since September 2011, PATC volunteers have provided Tarrant County’s in need with over $4.2 million in donated healthcare access. 

    Approximately 350 patients have been approved for the program and have had surgical and/or other specialty procedures completed by utilizing the charitable gifts of a network of existing voluntary providers and collaborative partnerships.  PATC’s mission is to expand health care access and improve health outcomes for low-income, uninsured residents of Tarrant County, utilizing the charitable gifts of a network of existing voluntary providers and collaborative partnerships. 





    Target Population

    1. Individuals residing in Tarrant County
    2. Uninsured (including Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, JPS Connection, or VA Benefits)
    3. Income at or below 200% of Federal Poverty Line (FPL)
    4. Working poor, or the alleviation of a health condition would allow them to work (i.e. vocational impediment)


    Project Access Provides the following services:

      Donated Medical Services (Project Access Tarrant County)

    • Establish medical homes/primary care physician (PCP) for each patient
    • Physician Specialists visits/access
    • Hospital access for operations and procedures
    • Ancillary services: anesthesia, laboratory, pathology, and radiology services


    Care Coordination (In Partnership with Catholic Charities)

    • Case management
    • Navigation services for accessing public benefits
    • Transportation
    • Translation
    • Financial education
    • Pharmacy benefits enrollment 







    Remember Why You Became a Physician

    The American Medical Association principles of medical ethics states:


    "A physician shall recognize a responsibility to participate in activities contributing to an improved community."


    However, finding viable outlets that serve the community effectively can be difficult.  This is why the concept of PATC is so wonderful:

    •Project Access Tarrant County acknowledges, quantifies, and coordinates physician and health care provider charity care, and spreads that care as equitably as possible.

    •Project Access Tarrant County makes it easier for physicians who are already caring for the uninsured to better manage and coordinate care.

    Physicians can volunteer to see patients in their own practice or can be connected to an area charitable clinic.  Each physician is in control of the number of patients s/he will see in a given year as well.  All commitments are appreciated; no number is too small. 

    Physician Quotes

    Paul Cho, MD, Neurological Surgery

    Dr. Cho feels that “we are only as strong as the people and community that surround us…Project Access is an exemplary means for the physicians of Tarrant County to serve our fellow citizens and to contribute to the health and welfare of all who surround us.”

    Michelle Marcincuk, MD, Otolaryngologist

    “Working with Project Access has been very rewarding.  Over the years, providing charity care to those who need it has always been something that makes me feel good about my work. However, as a surgeon, no matter how much you want to care for uninsured patients, without the cooperation of hospitals, labs, radiology facilities, and other doctors, it has traditionally been a huge challenge to provide surgical care for these patients. Now with Project Access, we have a network of willing individuals and facilities that makes this process easy and seamless. In my experience alone, I have been able to provide comprehensive care that substantially improves patients' quality of life, and, in a few cases, has provided life-saving care for uninsured patients. Multiply that by all the doctors and facilities in this network, and this program has made a monumental contribution to this community. I am proud to be a part of this effort.”

    R. Todd Richwine, DO, Family Medicine & Hospitalist

    “I volunteered to become part of PATC to help patients who otherwise would not have resources available for their health care.  With PATC’s coordination, my first patient referral to PATC is back caring for her family, working toward her degree and a healthy member of Tarrant County.  PATC allowed me to be part of a team of primary care, specialists, hospitals, labs and other health care providers without any of the administrative burden to myself or my staff that would come with trying to do this on our own.  I have provided charity care, but was limited on what I could do without the resources PATC has arranged.”

    D. Luke Shellenberger, MD, Otolaryngologist

    “I thoroughly enjoyed being able to help provide necessary care for a PATC patient.  The patient was extremely pleasant and she was excited and grateful to PATC.  Working with PATC was seamless, and I will be happy to continue to provide my services to those who need it in Tarrant County.  I know that I cannot make a massive change locally or internationally, but to the person that I help, it is massive.”

    Jim Norman, MD, General Surgeon

    “The process was easy especially since PATC had already arranged for the hospital and anesthesia services to be donated to the patient.  Scheduling the hernia case was like scheduling a patient with insurance.  I did not have to coordinate with the hospital and anesthesia to donate their services as PATC had already made those arrangements.”

    If you wish to volunteer with Project Access, please click on the link below.  The volunteer sign up form can be filled out online and will be sent directly to Project Access. 





    If you can’t participate, please donate!






    For further opportunities to give to Project Access Tarrant County, please visit the following pages: 


    ntxgd  amazonsmile charitymotors







    We would like to recognize the organizations responsible for funding PATC, partnering with PATC, and those physician groups whose practices have 100% physician participation.




    Our volunteer physicians and their office staff are the reason that Project Access is able to help the patients who have nowhere else to turn. We recognize them to show how grateful and appreciative we all are of their generosity.





    PATC e-newsletter  Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    Donor Bridge

    Charity Motors







    If you missed North Texas Giving Day and still wish to donate and support Project Access, here are some additional ways you can give:


    Donate through PayPal on the PATC website

    Mail-in envelope in brochure

    Use AmazonSmile when shopping on Amazon (Search under Tarrant County Academy of Medicine)

    Write a review of Project Access on Great NonProfits website


    Updated Website


    For more information on the great things that Project Access is doing and to learn how to become involved, please visit our NEW and IMPROVED website here             





    Shanna Brown, MD, Ophthalmologist


    Shanna Brown, MD, an Ophthalmologist with Fort Worth Eye Associates, is one amazingly giving physician.  She has a beautiful family with another one on the way.  She says that working as an Ophthalmologist gives her, "the opportunity to directly change people's lives.  When we bless others, we are blessed also."    

    Dr. Brown was raised in the church, encouraged throughout childhood by spiritually led mentors and especially encouraged by her mother, who she says was the biggest influence of her younger years.  She was always drawn to science, specifically chemistry, and wanted to be a pharmacist upon entering college at Prairie View A&M.  Because of her personable character however, she was urged to attend medical school.  The Ohio State University is where Dr. Brown found her calling.  At the same time she was completing medical school, her husband was in school to be an optometrist.  She would attend some of his classes with him and found out that Ophthalmology as a field of medicine existed.  She realized that as an Ophthalmologist, she would be able to keep a schedule that is family friendly; a fact that she genuinely appreciated because of her role as not only student and wife, but also as mom.  "This is perfect!" she said about making her decision, "I can change people's lives, still have a family, and still pursue being a doctor."  More than anything, though, she "fell in love with the fact that you can change someone's life with a 15 to 30 minute surgery." 

    Today, Dr. Brown is a PATC volunteer physician thanks to word of mouth from other PATC volunteers.  She said that when she found out about Project Access, "I thought that was the most awesome thing!  You can't say no to becoming involved and there was no way I could turn down Project Access.  The whole reason I am here is to help people."  And help she does.  Barbara, a PATC patient seen by Dr. Brown, needed cataract surgery on both eyes.  Dr. Brown says of the experience, "Ms. Forbes is so sweet.  She came out beautifully.  She was just a joy to see in the office."  Dr. Brown's hope is to give everyone the same great vision.  For Ms. Forbes and other patients' surgeries, Dr. Brown explains, "I haven't had to jump through any hoops to see these patients.  The flow of which PATC operates is a blessing to us and to the patients." 

    Thank you Dr. Brown for all that you do for Project Access and for taking care of our patients!




    patientspotlight2 "Christian," a 28 year-old maintenance worker and his adorable four-year-old son, Paul, are sitting in a little room, waiting for their caseworker, Diana, so that they can get started on reenrollment back into Project Access.  He has been here before; six months ago after learning about Project Access from a Bible study group of which Diana's parents are a part.  They suggested he call Diana at Catholic Charities to see if Project Access could coordinate the back surgery he so desperately needed.  Christian is married and has a lovely family of three children, ages 10, 7, and 4 year old Paul. 

    When prompted as to how he was injured, Christian says that he is not sure.  It could have been a car accident where he was rear ended.  It could have been from lifting heavy boxes and objects, like 18-wheeler tires at work.  All he knew was that over a three-year period, the pain steadily escalated to the point where he could not longer sit, stand, or lay down without feeling excruciating pain.  When he did stand, he tended to lean to the right as to relieve the pain he felt on his left side and, eventually, it became very hard to straighten at all.  Christian continued to work despite his debilitating condition in order to care for his family until it became impossible. 

    In an attempt to diagnose the problem, Christian began visiting the emergency departments around Tarrant County.  He was given medication to treat the swelling but the diagnosis went no further.  He was finally connected to a specialist who diagnosed him with a herniated disc with compression on a nerve root.  As much of a relief as this was to know problem and the solution, he was quoted $20,000 to complete the surgery.  Instead, he decided to take option B, injections.  He was able to afford the first one of $1,100 because his family had just received their income tax check for the year.  It did not alleviate the problem or the pain and he quickly ran out of money.  He had come to an impasse.  As so many PATC patients have said in the past, Christian states, "I was stuck."  He considered going out to California to have the surgery done at a discounted price at a teaching hospital; however, before that option was played out, his parents told him about their conversation with another couple at Bible Study.  Project Access might be an option!

    Christian was connected to Paul Cho, MD, a neurological surgeon here in Fort Worth and also a Project Access Physician Volunteer.  "Dr. Cho said that I was too young to go on like this and I needed surgery."  Although Christian was grateful that the surgery was going to happen, he was still scared.  He says of Dr. Cho, "He is very nice and very good.  Dr. Cho motivated and cheered me when he would reassure me that everything would be okay."  Christian had misconceptions about what would be done to his back during the surgery.  He imagined screws being drilled into his spine.  Dr. Cho took the time to thoroughly explain what the procedure would look like.  

    Now, after completion of his back surgery, Christian does not feel frustration anymore.  He is still taking it easy on his back and will be returning to work after Dr. Cho gives the all clear at his next appointment.  When asked how Project Access changed his life, he says, "I am thankful that Dr. Cho and the program helped me.  Those are only a few words to describe my feelings; otherwise, I would be here all day!" 


    See PATC patients' stories on our new YouTube Channel here


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    PATC / Tarrant County Academy of Medicine | 555 Hemphill St. | Fort Worth, TX 76104 |
    Phone: (817) 632-7531 | Fax: (817) 632-7532 | Email:






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