ACCESS - 2016 Annual Report

A report to our community:

A Total Health Approach To Community Based Care

Looking Forward

ACCESS Community Health Network

In 2016, ACCESS celebrated its 25th anniversary as a community health care provider, serving some of the Chicago area’s most vulnerable communities. Today, we have more than 180,000 patients who depend on us as their medical home each and every day.

At the forefront of community health, we have learned that this vulnerable patient population needs a 
comprehensive, integrated approach to health care. From our initial roots in public housing, and eventual 
migration of those residents to the suburbs, we have had to learn to adapt, innovate and at times be bold in our journey to transform the traditional community health care model.

In 2015, ACCESS achieved Level 3 recognition as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. This was a key milestone for us in our journey to put our patients first and really begin to address the health disparities that we knew were negatively impacting the health and wellness of our patients. Throughout this report, you will see examples of how we have transformed our care delivery model to implement a holistic approach to care that better meets the complex needs of our patients. From investing in behavioral health services and care coordination to building strategic partnerships with non-traditional community partners to address social determinants of health, like food and housing issues, ACCESS has truly shifted the way we operate and engage with our patients both within and beyond our health centers’ walls.

And this shift did not happen by accident – it happened through a strong, disciplined approach to planning. As you will see on the back inside cover, ACCESS recently launched its FY’17-19 Strategic Plan. As with our last strategic plan, we reached out to our workforce and Board membership along with many key external stakeholders and community partners to really take a pulse on what ACCESS was doing right, what could be improved upon and what were the trends, challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead that we as an organization need to be mindful of as we move forward. Every one of the five strategic pillars of our plan was heavily scrutinized to ensure that we truly took in that feedback and set the foundation for ACCESS to continue to move forward as a sustainable organization.

Another critical component to ACCESS’ success has been our constant rigor and unwavering commitment around regulatory compliance. In 2016 alone, ACCESS hosted two successful regulatory site visits by Joint Commission and HRSA. In fact, our HRSA site visit resulted in ACCESS meeting all 19 of their regulatory requirements – an achievement made by only 7% of health centers nationally.

While times continue to be challenging on the funding front, it’s important to note that we have been good stewards of our funding dollars and have worked very hard to meet the expectations set by our grantors and community partners. In fact, without those collaborations and support, ACCESS would not be the organization it is today. As ACCESS looks forward to the next 25 years, it’s critical that we not only stay true to our mission and vision but that we always take opportunities to learn, innovate and evolve our care delivery model to create health equity and improve the total health of the communities we proudly serve each day.

In Good Health,

ACCESS’ patient demographics reflect the communities

We proudly serve each day:

are children age 17 and under
are Hispanic
are African-American
were at or below the 200 percent
of the 2015 federal poverty level

Redefining Access To Care To Better Suit Our Patients’ Needs

Learn how ACCESS is transforming its health centers to better serve the needs of our patients from better managing their time with their provider to how patients can stay engaged between visits.


Five years ago, ACCESS was proud of its large network and ability to serve a large geographical footprint of the Chicago area’s most underserved communities. There was a problem though that lingered under the surface. ACCESS patients were simply spending too much time waiting for care at its centers.

At the time, it was the typical patient experience for anyone receiving care through a community clinic. Patients would bring books, pack lunches and get settled in to wait for hours for their appointment. Patients were unhappy, health center staff felt helpless and providers were frustrated. Everyone thought there must be a better way.

Doctor and Paitent

“If you’re sick right now, you can’t wait for an appointment in three days’ time.”

Now, those days at ACCESS are gone. In 2012, ACCESS embarked upon a journey to develop a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model of care, which honed in on delivering precisely what the organization’s name promises: better access to health care.

To achieve ACCESS’ vision for optimal patient access, the organization had to really review all its policies and practices, and undergo disciplined, systematic changes. “We want to be there when patients want to be seen,” said Eddie Cruz, ACCESS’ Vice President of Clinical Operations.

Better patient access could not have been realized without a broader cultural change that drives innovations — and works to sustain them. Change that can be sustained means change that everyone has a voice and a stake in. At ACCESS, every member of the health center staff has a voice and role in improving their unique health center. All center staff members — from the front desk receptionists, benefits specialists and care coordinators, to medical assistants, providers, and case managers — work together to identify areas of improvement. “When we come together to strategize change,” Mr. Cruz said, “everyone is equal.”

The biggest challenge for each health center was scheduling and increasing patient access overall.

To tackle this, ACCESS partnered with the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, which supports efforts to increase access to high quality primary care by helping health centers implement comprehensive, patient-centered, team-based strategies. The partnership led to ACCESS developing an initiative to improve three core metrics: cycle time, no-show rates and overall appointment availability. Through ongoing training and coaching, every health center had to learn to really dive into their data to understand how they could affect change and test out new solutions. As part of the process, every health center also adopted daily huddles to review their patient schedules for the day, which helped everyone address potential issues and needs before patients even entered the exam room.

Since Access Began Its Initiative To Improve Access To Care:
The Length Of A Patient’s Visit Dropped From
100 Minutes To 35 Minutes
The Average Next Available Appointment reduced From
11 Days To 5 Days
The No-show Rate Went From
22% To 14%
One Of The Lowest no-show Rates Among The Fry Foundation’s Grantees

Now, ACCESS health centers have dedicated slots for same day appointments to allow for patient’s hectic schedules and often emergent needs.

“At first changing to our new team set-up was a little intimidating, because you have to trust and work really closely with the other members of your team. You just have to jump right in, and the team kind of unifies through struggles that they face together, and ultimately it just leads to a huge benefit for the patient,” said Emily Shaw, a Pediatric P.A. at ACCESS Martin T. Russo Family Health Center in Bloomingdale, IL. 

The data speaks for itself. Since ACCESS began its initiative to improve access to care, the length of a patient’s visit dropped from 110 minutes to 35 minutes; the average next available appointment reduced from 11 days to five days; and the no-show rate went from 22 percent to 14 percent — one of the lowest no-show rates among the Fry Foundation’s grantees.

Expanded hours to fit each community

Throughout this process, ACCESS has identified the changes to be made by listening closely to what its patients need. ACCESS knows that its 36 different health centers serve 36 distinct communities. As a result, one approach couldn’t satisfy such diverse populations. For instance, some areas need expanded evening hours for parents who work traditional 9-5 jobs. Other areas are prone to more crime in the evening hours, which deters patients from scheduling appointments after dark.

Healthy Patient

ACCESS has identified the changes to be made by listening closely to what patients need.

While appointments are always encouraged for care planning purposes, ACCESS understands flexibility is key in meeting its patients where they are. Now, ACCESS health centers have dedicated slots for the same day appointments to allow for patients’ hectic schedules and often emergent needs. “If you’re sick right now, you can’t wait for an appointment in three days’ time,” Mr. Cruz said. “That’s not what a medical home should be about.”

In 2016 Alone, Access Was Able To Share Medical Records With:




Emergency Departments


Developing a call center

With high-traffic health centers receiving on average more than 500 calls a day, ACCESS also had to look at patients’ ability to simply get through to schedule appointments by phone. So, ACCESS set up its own centralized call center, which is open extended weekday and Saturday hours to mimic health center schedules.

While not all health centers are on the centralized call center yet, ACCESS is already looking ahead to the future: a call center open 24/7. “That way, a mom with a sick child at 3:00 a.m. could call us, and we could give them an 8:00 a.m. appointment the very next day — rather than waiting until morning and perhaps even making a costly, unnecessary trip to the emergency room,” Mr. Cruz said.

"We want to give patients the resources they need when they’re not with us to help maintain their optimal health."
Removing transportation barriers

By listening to its patients, ACCESS has also found that even the most efficient scheduling process does not help people who simply can’t get to their health centers. Some ACCESS health centers are located in areas without reliable public transportation. So, ACCESS is currently exploring a program that provides door-to-door transportation through a rideshare cost-saving model. “We want to reduce these barriers so patients aren’t foregoing needed appointments because they simply can’t get to and from their health centers,” Mr. Cruz said.


Of access patients would recommend us to their friends and family

Bridging the digital divide

Greater access also has a digital dimension. Through ACCESS’ secure online patient portal, myACCESSHEALTH, patients retrieve their medical information, view lab results, request refills and communicate directly with their providers — all through their computer, tablet or smartphone device, any time of the day or night.


More than 80,000 of ACCESS patients are on ACCESS’ 24/7 patient portal, myACCESSHEALTH.

Looking ahead, ACCESS wants patients to eventually use the portal as a one-stop resource between visits to find resources such as food pantries or child care. “We want to give patients the resources they need when they’re not with us, to help them stay connected and maintain their optimal health,” said Mahomed Ouedraogo, Interim Chief Information Officer. ACCESS’ vision for the portal is that it also serves as a mechanism for social justice and making sure patients’ voices are heard. For example, patients now can access voter registration information directly through the portal. ACCESS will continue to look for other ways to help patients be better advocates for their own health and communities at-large.

As part of increased digital access, ACCESS is also working on a two-way universal texting solution to remind patients of upcoming appointments and to provide patients the immediate ability to reply and let the center know if they’ll make the appointment. This simple function will then allow center staff to free up more availability for same day appointments.

As a leading community health care provider for more than 25 years, ACCESS understands that the demand for quality health care in Chicago’s medically-underserved communities will always be an issue and as such, ACCESS will always be looking at new, innovative ways to improve patient access.

“We’re here to advocate for our patients and make sure that they have the tools and support they need to get where they want to be.”

Transforming Our Practice to Treat the Whole Person

Clinicians at ACCESS now are a part of an integrated care team that is designed to address the total health of our patients, which includes addressing their medical, social and behavioral health needs.


“Without the team, you’re just an island. You’re trying to cover psychological issues, medication adherence, dietary control. But by using your care team, you know that your patient’s going to be in good hands. And if you impact enough patients, you’re impacting a whole community, and that’s essentially what ACCESS’ goal is,” said Vincent Botta, N.P. at ACCESS Martin T. Russo Family Health Center in Bloomingdale, IL.

Just a few years ago, most primary care practices could not envision such a concept: a coordinated care team. As the health care landscape began to shift though, ACCESS’ leadership knew that the business was changing and it would need to transform its care delivery model.

Smiling Woman

“We know that at ACCESS it’s more than just the number of people we take care of.”

“We know that at ACCESS it’s more than just the number of people we take care of. It’s really about the value that our care teams bring to our patients. More and more, you’ll hear the terminology value-based care, which really means how well you’re managing a patient’s care to get the outcomes that are needed to keep them healthy and out of those expensive, often unnecessary portals of care,” said Jairo Mejia, M.D., ACCESS’ Chief Medical Officer.

When developing this new care model, ACCESS knew that a one-off program here or there wouldn’t take hold and be successful. Therefore, since 2012, ACCESS has made deliberate, strategic investments to change the way it universally provides patient care. And it’s made those changes always with an eye on building effective, efficient systems around innovation and constant improvement. “This practice transformation did not come overnight. We went through deliberate planning with a focus on long-term sustainability in mind,” said Kathleen Gregory, ACCESS’ Vice President of Strategy and Business Development.

We treat the whole person so that patients can achieve the most optimal health possible.

Two programs that focused on integrated care coordination for high-risk patients helped illuminate the systemic changes that ACCESS needed to make. In 2012, ACCESS secured a grant from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to improve the health outcomes for a high-risk population: pregnant African-American women. Through this initiative, ACCESS realized the value of care coordinators — dedicated providers who serve as patient advocates and resource partners, connecting patients to the often complicated, wide range of health care services they need.

The second program touched a population that ACCESS has long been committed to serving: people with HIV/AIDS. ACCESS’ Ryan White program shed light on the importance of providers who consider the impact of behavioral health and social determinants such as nutrition and housing on patients’ physical health. It also demonstrated the value of behavioral health consultants who work not in isolation from other providers but in tandem with them.

ACCESS took the valuable lessons it learned from these programs to improve care for patients across its network. “We used the innovation programs as platforms for learning and business planning,” Ms. Gregory said. “We are grounded in a patient-centered approach and the reality that it’s really about how patients live a healthy life and how we as a health system are designed to support that.”

Leveraging technology for support

As there is no longer one lone provider managing a patient’s care, ACCESS also had to address how communication would be shared both across ACCESS and with its health care partners. Recognized at HIMSS Level Stage 6 for its EHR adoption, ACCESS has continued to invest in its Epic clinical tools to increase knowledge-sharing among its care teams; share medical information across networks with hospitals and other health care providers; and build out Epic’s managed care tools to put as much information about patients’ medical history at the fingertips of their providers. The vision is that all providers will one day have one dashboard to view all critical patient information including utilization data, screening results and key risk areas.

A monologue becomes a dialogue 

After ACCESS improved access to care by creating efficient systems, it looked to the next frontier to move beyond access to impact health outcomes. With generous support from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation and the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, ACCESS care teams are partnering with patients on a shared decision making approach to care.

Patients and providers see the benefits every day. Now, whenever patients visit ACCESS, their care team treats their total health and they are partners with their providers. Patients aren’t simply told what to do. They talk through their care plan with their provider. Through continued investment in shared decision making and an initiative to adopt motivational interviewing, providers are being trained how to engage and effectively prompt patients to talk about issues in their lives that might positively or negatively affect their well-being — whether it’s a history of domestic violence or a desire to quit smoking or lose weight.

This way, providers no longer simply dictate the course of care. They partner with their patients to determine the appropriate care plan. “Our goal is to empower our patients,“ said Dr. Mejia. “It must be a collaboration — that’s the only way we can succeed.”

Integrating Behavioral health

It could have been a routine visit with a patient who needed a new prescription. But in talking with the patient, her psychiatrist, Dr. Sharon Lieteau at ACCESS Westside Family Health Center, learned she was now in one of the longest drug-free periods of her life — but she was also anxious about an upcoming surgery. Dr. Lieteau recognized the patient would be susceptible to misusing pain medications, so she reached out to another member of the patient’s ACCESS care team, her primary care physician.

Together, both doctors closely monitored their patient’s post-surgery recovery. “With that collaboration, she was able to stay drug-free,” Dr. Lieteau said.

Doctors walking down the hall

That successful intervention — and countless others like it — was enabled by ACCESS’ transformation into a Level 3 patient-centered medical home (PCMH). ACCESS has one overarching goal: putting patients’ needs first.

As of January 2017, ACCESS had more than 125,000 patients with managed care plans.

To achieve that, ACCESS’ teams of health care providers collaborate closely with each other to coordinate the care they provide. And this coordination goes beyond treating patients’ physical needs. They look at a person from all key aspects — behavioral, medical and social. Those areas truly define a patient’s total health.

Before this transformation, Dr. Lieteau’s patient’s substance abuse history may not have been spotted in another treatment setting. Now, that patient — like everyone ACCESS cares for — belongs to a team of caregivers who regularly communicate with each other. “That’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before in my career,” said Dr. Lieteau.

As part of its focus on treating both the mind and the body, ACCESS has transformed the way it also delivers psychiatric services. It has moved away from a traditional psychiatric model that refers patients to off-site specialists. In its place, ACCESS has adopted a consultative model of psychiatry. Now, psychiatrists work alongside the entire care team to identify both high-risk patients who need a specialist and low-risk patients whose psychiatric needs can be treated by their primary care physician with the psychiatrist’s support.

“There’s improved access to psychiatric expertise across the board, and better communication because we’re not just sending patients out to a specialist,” said ACCESS’ Director of Behavioral Health Suzanne Snyder. As patients utilize and remain within their medical home, their continuity of care results in improved outcomes.

ACCESS also invested in rounding out its behavioral health services. Just over four years ago, ACCESS only had a handful of behavioral health consultants across the network. Today, ACCESS has behavioral health specialists that can cover all 36 of its sites, which span both urban and suburban communities in Cook and DuPage counties. Given the reduced mental health services available locally, this investment could not have come at a better time. One case in point: ACCESS is already leveraging this investment to help support its programs to deal with the growing opiate addiction crisis, which has become a huge issue in the communities ACCESS serves.

Reaching beyond our walls

ACCESS has also invested in care coordinators who work both within and beyond ACCESS’ walls as an integral part of the ACCESS care team.

ACCESS first started small with seeding its care coordination model through its Accountable Care Entity (ACE), HealthCura, which was transitioned to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois in 2015. During that state-funded initiative, HealthCura was responsible for the care of more than 25,000 members at its peak. “Given our vulnerable population, we needed care coordination — especially for those high-risk members — to stave off ED readmissions, support chronic disease management and simply help patients navigate the complex health care landscape to follow through with their care plans,” said Ann Lundy, former Executive Director of HealthCura and current Chief Operating Officer at ACCESS. “Looking forward as we move from a fee-for-service model to a value-based model, this investment will be even more critical.”

ACCESS currently has approximately 30 dedicated care coordinators, with plans to increase that number over time to serve its entire patient population — regardless of insurance coverage.

The investment is already paying off as patients are responding and surprised by the additional support and attention they are receiving.

“Joanne has been my guardian angel. I’m truly grateful for her service to me, and I was very blessed to have had her in my world during this difficult time.”

Steve S.
A patient at ACCESS West Chicago Family Health Center

Nearly two years ago, 46-year-old ACCESS West Chicago patient Steve S. was waiting at a red light in his car when he was struck by a car going 55 miles per hour. He was hurt pretty badly and quickly began to get lost within all the red tape of doctors’ visits, insurance paperwork and scheduling.

Everything changed when he says JoAnne Siar, R.N., a Nurse Care Coordinator at ACCESS West Chicago Family Health Center, began calling him to offer assistance.

“I was a little caught off guard, because I never had anyone provide me with a coordinator before,” Steve said. “From the get-go, she started helping me with all of my headaches and started making suggestions that I would not have thought of myself. She helped get me mental health care and therapy, arranged appointments, deciphered the insurance billing codes for me, and helped me secure my medications — even getting me dental care.”

Steve says that Ms. Siar also helped him in an unexpected way — with food and housing when he became homeless for a few months because he couldn’t work.

Ms. Siar says that she enjoys advocating for her patients, because they face many barriers. “Sometimes when they try to navigate their own health care, they can become discouraged, and this whittles away at their dignity. With the care coordination here, patients don’t feel helpless and can see the doors opening up for them.”

Care coordination is also helping ACCESS reach its patients beyond our walls in new ways. Hannah Rosenblatt joined ACCESS as its first care coordinator for behavioral health in 2016. She serves as the chief liaison between hospitals and ACCESS’ behavioral health consultants so that, when patients leave the hospital, they know they can turn to ACCESS. “Our goal is to ensure that no patients fall through the cracks and they all know they can go back to their medical home at ACCESS for care,” Ms. Rosenblatt said.

Rounding at local hospitals, Ms. Rosenblatt meets in person with patients who end up in the hospital frequently. She asks about their medical conditions, their diets, their housing — anything that might present a barrier to good health. “If we want to be patient-centered, we need to engage patients to address these larger issues and understand the important connection to their overall health,” she said.

By forming meaningful relationships with care coordinators like Ms. Rosenblatt, patients feel they are getting the personalized attention that health care often lacks. She also educates them about when it’s best to go to ACCESS versus the local emergency room. Patients learn that they can take care of their health on an ongoing basis — and that ACCESS is not just for routine primary care visits. “We want them to see us as a resource, rather than seeing the hospital as their only resource to go to at those most acute times,” Ms. Rosenblatt said. Support for this work has been provided by the Washington Square Health Foundation and, for work in DuPage County, the Alfred Bersted Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

In the future, ACCESS plans to mobilize more care coordinators in the field to help patients better navigate the health system overall and connect back to their medical home.

One in five Chicago area residents are food insecure or unable to afford enough food.

Embracing Food Security as a Critical Indicator of Total Health

What if every time a patient was seen by their doctor, they were asked about their access to food and their ability to get basic nutrition on a regular basis? At ACCESS, that’s all part of our regular health screening process.


“In the communities we serve, many people go hungry,” said Donna Thompson, ACCESS’ Chief Executive Officer. “Over the years as we have navigated our patients, we really focused in on the physical needs, but now we know we must focus in on social determinants of health to truly impact the total health of our communities. For example, we know that for many people we serve simply being food insecure can throw someone off the rails and into a health care crisis in a blink of an eye.” ACCESS’ Food for Health program, which tackles patients’ food security, is part of its vision to improve total health and create health equity and avoid such crises.

Fruit baskets

One in five chicago area residents are food insecure or unable to afford enough food.

ACCESS has developed its food security initiative like other changes it has introduced. Starting small with a deliberate pilot with evaluation to assess its progress, ACCESS has been able to create systematic changes across its 36 health centers to sustain and expand this initiative over the long run. “We laid the foundation to build a network-wide initiative covering all our communities,” said Kathleen Gregory, ACCESS’ Vice President of Strategy and Business Development.

The program is anchored with ACCESS’ evidence-based intervention that it developed in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which distributes food to many of the 800,000 people throughout Cook County who wake up each morning uncertain if they’ll eat that day. The screenings at each visit also include education about nutrition on a budget and referrals to food resources.

Following the initial pilot, ACCESS scaled the approach and implemented screenings at just four distinct sites in different communities with distinct needs. By evaluating those learnings, ACCESS adapted the pilot across the whole network. Now every time patients visit ACCESS, they are asked about their access to food. In fact, the screenings are treated just like other vitals in order to give ACCESS’ care teams one more tool in understanding a patient’s total health.

Farmer fresh

ACCESS also recently received funding through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois’ Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grant to support the Food for Health program. “BCBSIL’s investment in this initiative is helping ACCESS better integrate the medical and social safety nets in communities across metropolitan Chicago,” said Ms. Gregory.

Serving an increasingly vulnerable population, ACCESS must always have a pulse on improving its quality measures. As the health care landscape evolves into a value-based care model, ACCESS will need to be able to risk stratify its patients to ensure they get the proper care and resources they need to support their optimal health. “From a managed care standpoint, we know that those high-risk patients are especially vulnerable to food insecurity, and if we are able to support that need, we know that we can positively impact their health outcomes,” said ACCESS’ Chief Operating Officer Ann Lundy.

The screenings would not be successful without leveraging ACCESS’ investment in its EHR technology: Epic. Through its clinical workgroups and information services teams, ACCESS incorporated the proper screening workflows and systematic processes that prompt staff to ask patients the questions and then to connect them with the right resources through just a few clicks of a button.

Bringing Fresh Food Directly to Patients

The program goes further than just identifying resources for patients. It provides them with something they need right away: fresh food. On a regular basis, patients step inside stocked food trucks supplied by the Greater Chicago Food Depository and pick out fresh fruits and vegetables. Some ACCESS communities lack grocery stores; many patients simply cannot afford to buy goods from the grocery stores they do have.

“It’s not enough just to screen. We’re connecting our patients to food resources,” said Ms. Gregory. ACCESS has also recently rolled out another key aspect to the program: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment, which is also critical in supporting ongoing food access. In fact, SNAP enrollment information is now included in every after visit summary for those identified as food insecure.

“It’s not just about the food. It’s about the quality of the food,” said Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO, the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “The people we serve struggle with basic health problems, many of which could be prevented by access to the right diet.

Woman with fresh food
In 2016
ACCESS successfully screened
of its patients
of those screened requested information on community resources.

”Likewise, the food trucks initially visited two ACCESS health centers every other month. Now, they travel to five ACCESS sites on a monthly basis. By pairing available community data against its own screening data, ACCESS determined which communities have the greatest food needs — and thus would benefit the most from mobile food distribution.

Evaluating Our Impact

Always looking at how to improve the program, ACCESS just launched an evaluation study about how easy access to healthy foods may help patients manage their diabetes. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, staff members are discreetly identified by simple green apple buttons and patients are asked to participate in a 15-minute survey. The goal is to gain an understanding of how patients with a prevalent chronic disease condition shops for food, their key ways of getting food and what they actually eat. Then, in nine months, ACCESS plans to conduct a second brief phone survey.

Apple icon

In looking forward to how its Food for Health program will evolve, ACCESS is also exploring other solutions to expand food distribution to patients on a regular basis and in DuPage County, which is not served by the Greater Chicago Food Depository.


Household Members

Have been served by Fresh Truck's Access Events since August 2015.

A Venue for Community-Based Innovation:
The ACCESS Center for Discovery and Learning

Why does most medical research take place on academic campuses? ACCESS wants to change that and engage our communities right from the beginning.


As a national leader in community health, ACCESS is committed to engaging our patients and our communities in finding real solutions to impact the health of our medically underserved communities.

In 2016, The ACCESS Center for Discovery and Learning opened its doors and became the nation’s first National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded translational research center. Located on the same campus as a federally-qualified health center, it is designed to support research and learning in a community-based setting.

Designed using environmentally conscious principles, The ACCESS Center for Discovery and Learning now serves as an innovation incubator that fosters new thinking, tests ideas, and refines ways to deliver care and reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.


The Center provides an opportunity for all community health stakeholders — medical providers, patients, community members, schools, public officials, and academic disciplines — to come together and develop solutions to positively affect the total health of our communities.

As a convener, The Center has held conversations with organizations at all intersections of public health and community health practice, including researchers from Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, University of Illinois Chicago and epidemiologists from the Chicago Department of Public Health, leadership from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the American Heart Association, and the Illinois Public Health Association, among others.

“I don’t think I have ever heard of a program like the one here at ACCESS. I am able to use my background in informatics and really touch all aspects of research and collaborate both with ACCESS’ internal clinical teams and its external partners, which shapes my work in much more meaningful ways.”

Szilvia Kruss, PhD(c)
2016-2018 ACCESS Community Health Fellow

In support of its mission to promote community engagement in learning and also spread best practice to health care providers and patients, The Center also hosts its Community Learning Series as a platform for ACCESS and its collaborators to share innovations from successful health initiatives and to engage community members on various health and wellness topics that are impacting their everyday lives. Series topics to date have ranged from lead poisoning to breast cancer awareness and colorectal cancer.

The Center also hosts its Community Health Fellowship, which is a two-year program that provides an opportunity for individuals with a variety of advanced degrees to continue pursuing their interests in community health, medically underserved communities, and the intersection between research and quality improvement. ACCESS’ Community Health Fellows participate in research and quality improvement projects, such as research into colorectal and breast cancer disparities.

ACCESS is proud to have both the Community Learning Series and the Community Health Fellowship funded in part by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the Hospira Foundation, which was the philanthropic affiliate of Hospira, Inc. Hospira, Inc. was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in September of 2015.

FY’15 and FY’16 Private Grantors

ACCESS gratefully acknowledges the following private grantors for their generous support across the two years that began July 1, 2014 and ended June 30, 2016. Grantors are listed according to their highest level of giving across the two years.
$1 million or more
Hospira FoundationIn support of ACCESS C3: A community-based cancer care continuum program
$100,000 - $999,999
Gilead Sciences, INC.In support of an HIV testing demonstration project and a Hepatitis C screening and treatment demonstration project
Lloyd A. Fry FoundationIn support of implementation of the patient-centered medical home model of care and the introduction of shared decision-making and diabetes care
National Foundation for the Centers for Disease ControlIn support of the Sustainable Health Center Implementation PrEP Pilot Study (SHIPP), to learn how best to incorporate the delivery of daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) into services provided by health centers serving sexually active adults at high risk of acquiring HIV infection
United Way of Metropolitan ChicagoIn support of increasing access to primary and behavioral health care
$50,000 - $99,999
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of IllinoisIn support of care coordination services
Epic Systems CorporationIn support of services to patients who are low-income and/or uninsured
Susan G. Komen for the CureIn support of breast cancer outreach and navigation for screenings and care
The Charles R. O’Malley Charitable Lead TrustIn support of services to patients who are low-income and/or uninsured
Searle Funds at the Chicago Community TrustIn support of the integration of behavioral health and primary care services and for shared decision making
$25,000 - $49,999
Community Memorial FoundationIn support of care coordination for patients in Summit
Grant Healthcare FoundationIn support of accessible health care services in Chicago’s North Lawndale community
Westlake Health FoundationIn support of services to patients in the Melrose Park area who are low-income and/or uninsured
$10,000 - $24,999
Alfred Bersted Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., TrusteeIn support of expanded behavioral health services in West Chicago
Black & Fuller Fund, Bank of America, N.A., TrusteeIn support of care coordination services
Charles and M.R. Shapiro FoundationIn support of integrated primary and specialty care and expanded screenings for depression and substance use disorders
Glasser and Rosenthal FamilyIn support of services to patients who are low-income and/or uninsured
Irvin Stern FoundationIn support of services to patients who are low-income and/or uninsured
Northern Trust FoundationIn support of services to residents of the Humboldt Park community who are low-income and/or uninsured
$5,000 - $9,999
AnonymousIn support of services to patients who are low-income and/or uninsured
Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice FoundationIn support of services to residents of the Evanston and Rogers Park communities who are low-income and/or uninsured
Donley FoundationIn support of pediatric literacy programming in Cicero and Melrose Park
Paul and Muriel Francis Charitable Lead Annuity TrustIn support of services to patients who are low-income and/or uninsured
TargetIn support of pediatric literacy programming in the Melrose Park and Arlington Heights communities
$2,000 - $4,999
BNSF Railway FoundationIn support of expanding screenings for substance use disorders
Clinical Directors Network, Inc.In support of EnCoRE, a training curriculum designed to educate and engage health center teams, including patients, clinical and administrative staff in Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
St. Barnabas ChurchIn support of services to low-income and uninsured patients living with HIV/AIDS
* The Hospira Foundation was the philanthropic affiliate of Hospira, Inc. Hospira, Inc. was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in September of 2015.

ACCESS Board of Directors

To assure quality and responsiveness to community health needs, more than half of Access Community Health Network’s Board of Directors are patients. The asterisk (*) identifies patient representatives.
Chair Emeritus
Bena Sullivan*
Thomas P. FitzGibbon, Jr.*
Vice Chair
Donna Simmons*
Terry Brown
Perla Herrera*
Olivia Banks*
Patti Bobb
Charles DeShazer, M.D.
Ryan Hart*
Denise Kitchen
Daniella Levitt
Pete McNerney
Erick Osorio*
Virginia Oviedo
Nicholas Pearce
Eve Salazar*
Erin Starkey, L.C.S.W.*

ACCESS Senior Leadership Team

Donna Thompson, R.N., M.S.
Chief Executive Officer
Jairo Mejia, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Ann Lundy, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A.
Chief Operating Officer
Mahomed Ouedraogo, B.S., C.P.A.
Chief Financial Officer and Interim Chief Information Officer
Etta Ish Henderson, B.A., M.P.H.
Chief Compliance Officer
Eleva Riley, M.A.
Vice President of Human Resources
Cristina Sotelino
Vice President of Communications and Community Engagement
Kathleen Gregory, M.B.A.
Vice President of Strategy and Business Development
Tariq Butt, M.D.
Vice President of Health Affairs
2016 2015
Cash & Cash Equivalents 20,551,719 13,014,909
Patient Accounts Receivable, Net 5,166,789 6,352,308
Managed Care Receivables 1,757,809 1,590,557
Contracts and Grants Receivables 2,244,897 3,753,014
Other Receivables 2,109,870 1,738,689
Prepaid Expenses & Other Assets 1,737,151 848,166
Total Current Assets 33,568,235 27,297,643
Total Property & Equipment 27,269,082 26,570,089
Other Assets 731,395 719,691
Total Assets 61,568,712 54,587,423
Liabilities and Net Assets
Current Liabilities 30,508,051 34,531,580
Long-term Liabilities 5,139,029 1,617,114
Total Liabilities 35,647,080 36,148,694
Net Assets
Unrestricted 23,778,538 18,198,305
Temporarily Restricted 2,143,094 240,424
Total Net Assets 25,921,632 18,438,729
Total Liabilities and Net Assets 61,568,712 54,587,423
2016 2015
Revenue And Other Support
Patient Service Revenue 61,175,057 55,604,100
Managed Care Revenue 23,364,598 21,360,813
340B Pharmacy Revenue 19,317,421 13,617,329
Contributions & Grants 22,707,758 22,732,188
Other Revenue 2,531,618 3,512,115
Total Revenue and Other Support 129,096,452 116,826,545
Operating Expenses By Function
Program Services 94,441,139 87,568,336
Management and General 27,565,779 26,962,679
Total Operating Expenses 122,006,918 114,531,015
Change in Net Assets* 7,482,903 7,460,813
* These financial statements have been derived from the audited June 30, 2016 and 2015 financial statements of ACCESS. CliftonLarsonAllen LLP issued an unmodified opinion on the financial statements of ACCESS for the years ended June 30, 2016 and 2015.

From FY’13 through FY’16, ACCESS invested in renovating or relocating 18 of its 36 health centers.


Hover over charts for more detail.

Contributions & Grants
Encounter Payor Mix
Operating Expenses

From July 2013 through September 2016, Access Assisted


Individuals in applying for expanded insurance options under the affordable care act.

FY ’17-‘19

ACCESS Community Health Network

Strategic Plan


Patient Engagement

ACCESS is the health care home of choice and is committed to creating an experience at all points of care in partnership with patients to manage their total health.

Strategic Partnerships

ACCESS has an integrated network of partners with high quality services and data to address the medical, behavioral, social and economic factors that have the greatest impact on health outcomes and total cost of care.

Financial Future

ACCESS has a strong business model, which leverages its financial strength and assets to invest in workforce, technology, integrated systems and infrastructure to support growth and transform care.

Workforce Engagement

ACCESS has a culture that develops, recognizes and rewards our diverse workforce in an environment that promotes teamwork, communication and transparency.

Leadership In Community Health

ACCESS is an advocate for health equity, partnering to develop best practices in community health and share solutions to improve population health outcomes.