Our physicians are members of Access Now, Richmond’s only volunteer network of physicians who offer free specialty care to residents with no health insurance and limited means to pay for care. Access Now (link to website) was created in 2007 at the request of 11 area clinics and public health departments who could care for patients’ primary care needs, but lacked the resources to provide comprehensive complex care. This network has grown to include more than 880 volunteer physicians and staff who provide more than 40 different specialty care services. This network of volunteer physicians is one of the largest in the nation.
Gastroenterology is the single most requested specialty care service. Dr. Michael Manetas, one of the gastroenterologists in our practice, was recently interviewed by Access Now and featured in their newsletter. Here are some excerpts from Dr. Manetas’ conversation:
I view my role as a physician as a calling to serve others; a way to provide assistance in a time of need. Access Now allows me to provide this care to patients in the Greater Richmond community who have limited resources and are more vulnerable to health crisis. Access Now opens doors to patients in need and identifies a potentially large group of patients in our community that have not received any colon cancer screenings. Given the lack of options for this vulnerable population, we provide screening colonoscopy with sedation to these patients at no cost. Any precancerous polyps are also removed during the colonoscopy.
Some of the most common diagnoses for patients seeking outpatient care are gastrointestinal complaints and symptoms. The demand for GI specialty care is high as evidenced by the number of patients seen by local GI providers in the Access Now network. Whether it’s obesity with fatty liver, GERD, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, IBS with constipation/diarrhea, dysphagia or cirrhosis/chronic liver disease, we are available to help these patients regardless of their ability to pay.
We are thankful for all of the physicians across Richmond who volunteer their time and talents to Access Now!