Featured Volunteer Providers

Salt Lake County physicians have a long tradition of providing charity care to low-income patients. The Health Access Project has built upon this tradition by developing a system for physicians to care for uninsured patients in a more coordinated and comprehensive way. With support from the Utah Medical Association and Salt Lake County Medical Society, HAP has established a network of approximately 400 volunteer physicians (25% of physicians). Participating providers agree to treat approximately twelve patients per year as part of their regular practice. The HAP Volunteer Provider Network is based on the premise that if every physician treats a small number of uninsured patients, we can increase access to health care without burdening any one provider.HAP case managers support volunteer physicians in caring for HAP patients. Through arrangements negotiated by HAP, physicians can obtain donated laboratory services, diagnostic tests, and hospital care for their HAP patients. HAP also helps patients obtain free or reduced cost medications.

Dr. John R. Aoki – September 2002
Dr. John R. Aoki and his office staff have been a valuable asset to the Health Access Project, as otolaryngology has proven to be one of the most needed specialties for HAP clients. Graduating with a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Utah and studying medicine at the same institution, Dr. Aoki has since had a private ENT practice with privileges at Pioneer Valley Hospital for almost twenty years. He heard about HAP through a UMA mailing and felt inclined to contribute his services to this new community initiative. Dr. Aoki has donated care for several HAP clients, including one woman with a particularly difficult case of a pre-auricular cyst. He has exhibited great dedication in restoring this woman’s health through many consultations and two surgeries. With assistance of HAP medical interpreters and the support of Pioneer Valley Hospital in providing the lab, diagnostics, and procedures free of charge, Dr. Aoki has found it effective and enjoyable to treat this uninsured patient. The patient recently wrote to Dr. Aoki, “I am very thankful to you and everyone that has helped me. Thank you for everything.” When Dr. Aoki isn’t practicing medicine, he likes to go fly fishing and biking. Members of his staff include Claudia Reid, the Office Manager; Rochelle Montanez, the Office Nurse; Alan Young, an Audiologist; and Jodie Zdunich, the Front Desk Receptionist.
Dr. E. Kent Rasmussen – April 2003
Dr. E. Kent Rasmussen is an Inter-mountain Healthcare-employed OBGYN who has practiced medicine in the Salt Lake Valley for twenty nine years. Learning Spanish at a young age, he has been very involved throughout his career in caring for the Hispanic community. As a committed OBGYN, Dr. Rasmussen has always recognized the value of prenatal care, and hates to see a lack of insurance get in the way of a pregnant woman receiving services. Through the IHC Salt Lake Clinic, Dr. Rasmussen was informed that the Health Access Project could be a valuable resource in caring for the uninsured, and as a result, he agreed to be part of the HAP Volunteer Provider Network in September 2002. Since that time, Dr. Rasmussen has identified several uninsured women in the ER and at his office who he has enrolled in HAP. With the partnerships that HAP has established, his patients have been able to receive diagnostic tests and surgeries at LDS Hospital, as well as obtain subsidized medications from Smith’s™ pharmacy. Dr. Rasmussen’s favorite thing about being a physician is helping people, and HAP has been an asset to him in getting patients the help they need. Cathy Martin is an RN who has assisted Dr. Rasmussen for thirteen years. She does triage with patients and provides care in all areas. Cathy has been an integral part of HAP and comments, “Our patients are wonderful, caring people. It is a pleasure to serve them.” Joyce Clark, another RN on Dr. Rasmussen’s team, stated: “it’s always nice to be a part of helping someone in need!”
Dr. E. Kent Rasmussen – April 2003
dr_swoboda_smallSalt Lake Family Medicine opened its doors in 1998 and a year later began providing care for the growing numbers of refugees being resettled in the Salt Lake area. During last year alone, Dr. Paul Swoboda and Dr. Mara Rabin treated over 1,000 refugees comprising nearly a third of their practice. Dottie Mitchell, the Office Manager, and two Medical Assistants, Ruth Spencer and Kim Earl, have played a large role in this care. It’s an incredible opportunity for us, being able to interact with people from around the world that’s what makes this clinic unique. When a patient they have been treating loses Medicaid coverage but has ongoing health concerns, the office then partners with the Health Access Project and begins providing care free of charge. It has been very rewarding for the staff at Salt Lake Family Medicine to see patients get their health needs addressed and become integrated into the Salt Lake community.
Dr. Michael Giovanniello – November 2003
Dr. Michael Giovanniello, a physiatrist in Salt Lake City, was one of the first physicians to sign up to volunteer with the Health Access Project. “I decided to participate in HAP because it is a way in which I can volunteer my talents and training to positively impact the community that I am living in,” said Dr. Giovanniello. It is an unfortunate reality that there are a large number of people who do not have access to medical care. Since that time, he has donated numerous consultations and procedures to uninsured patients’ ameliorating the pain and suffering that several HAP clients have lived with for years. Dr. G, as people lovingly call him, has a passion for improving the quality of patients’ lives, as well as for making his community a better place.

Dr. G. is an associate physician at the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitative Therapy (SMART) Clinic. For several years running, the SMART Clinic has teamed up with RS Medical, a durable medical equipment company, to sponsor a golf tournament for physicians. This summer, Dr. G. had the brilliant idea of incorporating the Health Access Project into the event in order to thank volunteers and to increase awareness of this community program.

The golf tournament was held at the Old Mill Golf Course on September 12, a beautiful Friday afternoon. Fifty providers attended, and all who participated had a great time even though nobody won the Harley Davidson motorcycle with a hole in one! And in addition to the fun, many positive benefits resulted: Many new providers learned about the Health Access Project, HAP received financial contributions from players which will be used to fund its work in coordinating care for the uninsured, and HAP linked up with pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies who are willing to donate supplies to the uninsured patients HAP serves.

Dr. G. studied medicine at Cornell University in New York and then went on to complete his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Ohio State University Hospitals in Columbus. He had always had a dream of exploring the west and settling in one of the mountain states, and so in July of 2001, he and his wife, Dr. Christine Cheng, moved to Salt Lake City to create their new home. With an intense love of the outdoors, they have seen many of Utah’s splendors while hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.

Dr. G. joined the SMART Clinic in August 2001, where his practice specializes in managing spine related disorders and sports injuries. Other providers at the SMART Clinic include Dr. Scott Adelman, Dr. Jackson Maddux, and Dr. Chris Patton. The large staff at the SMART clinic has been extremely helpful in coordinating care for HAP patients as well as in organizing the tournament. A big thanks goes to Dr. G. and the entire SMART clinic for their compassion and enthusiasm!

Dr. Scott A. Leckman – June 2002
Dr. Scott A. Leckman, a general surgeon in the Salt Lake area, is an advocate for the medically under-served in Utah and is acting as the Lead Physician for the Health Access Project. For many years, Dr. Leckman has treated low-income, uninsured patients, but became increasingly frustrated by the lack of support services available and the difficulties in arranging care for this population. In February 2001, Dr. Leckman attended a national conference held in Buncombe County, North Carolina to learn more about what other communities were doing to address the growing problem of the uninsured. Impressed by the successes of several initiatives around the country, Dr. Leckman wanted to implement a similar project in Salt Lake City. With his leadership, the Health Access Project was established in November 2001.

As the president-elect of the Utah Medical Association, Dr. Leckman took on the task of building a network of volunteer physicians to serve HAP patients. In the several months that recruitment has been underway, he has identified lead physicians at eight local hospitals, met with the Medical Executive Committees of most hospitals to request their involvement, made presentations at several hospitals’ General Staff Meetings, and spoken at gatherings of both the Utah Medical Association and the Salt Lake County Medical Society. Dr. Leckman believes strongly in the premises of the Project and feels that HAP is a win-win-win situation: patients receive the care they need, doctors benefit from the support services that enable them to provide comprehensive care for uninsured patients, and hospitals save money as patients are cared for in a more timely, cost-effective manner.

Dr. Leckman has been an engaged citizen at the local, national, and global level. For over a decade, he has been actively involved with RESULTS, an anti-hunger citizens’ advocacy group. From 1995 to 2000, he served on the Advisory Board of the University of Utah Bennion Center, and in 1999, he was the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award. In additional to his role in the Health Access Project, Dr. Leckman currently provides free care for patients from the Fourth Street Clinic/Wasatch Homeless Health Care, is a participating physician in the Huntsman Cancer Care Program, acts as the Chair of the Salt Lake Rotary Club’s International Service Committee, and is a member of the Utah Democratic Party Executive Committee. HAP staff would like to express appreciation to Dr. Leckman for his extraordinary efforts in pioneering the Project. Thanks also goes to his Office Manager, Kristine Beck, for her continuous support and valuable contributions.

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