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About Project Access

A program of the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga 
& Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Project Access was created to help uninsured individuals get the health care they need by linking local physicians, hospitals, and local health clinics that agree to donate their services to the individuals and families in need of health care services.

Physician talking with patient in exam room

What Does Project Access Do?

  • Develops and maintains physician, hospital, and other provider networks

  • Determines and monitors client eligibility

  • Provides care coordination services throughout the enrollment process

  • Tracks and reports "Charity Claims" submitted by partners

  • Directs patients to community-based resources that can help them address chronic health conditions

  • Holds enrollees accountable with a patient responsibility contract


The Project Access model was originated in Buncombe County, North Carolina, in 1996. In 2002, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society and then-President Joseph Cofer, MD, began work to bring the program to Hamilton County. Project Access saw its first patient in April 2004. 

The program is managed by the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga (MFC), and 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation established and funded by physicians of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society in 1986. The Foundation's mission is to support and promote programs that result in the continual improvement of community health. The Foundation is governed by an 18-member board of directors that includes fourteen physicians, many of whom are past and present leaders of the Medical Society, and five non-physician members. 

$23,814,809 Economic Impact of Donated Care

According to a regional economic analysis, charity services given away at hospitals and physician offices generate jobs and labor income. In order to provide these services, supplies must be purchased, and utilities and staff must be paid. The ripple effect in Hamilton County's economy is significant. $200 million of donated care (as of November 2020) generated 448 indirect jobs and 100 induced jobs for a total of 545 jobs. 

  • Indirect Labor Income: $19,750,726

  • Induced Labor Income: $4,064,084

  • Total: $23,814,810

Source: Greater Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce

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