Butterfly Transformations

Project access patients at the champions soiree

“Every minute of every day, an ASMG anesthesiologist is providing a pro bono community service somewhere in San Diego County,” said Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, CEO of Anesthesia Service Medical Group. At Champions for Health, Project Access San Diego patients have been the beneficiaries of these nerve-numbing, sleep-like inducing services since 2010. Project Access provides a medical referral pathway for uninsured adults up to 250% of federal poverty level, who are not eligible for Medi-Cal, Medicare, and cannot afford insurance. Champions for Health arranges elective, medically necessary outpatient procedures by leveraging donated care.

ASMG has been a good steward in the San Diego community since its inception. Nearly 1,000 Project Access patients have been the recipients of successful procedures and operations where anesthesiology services valued at $600,000 were being provided. Dr. Peter Raudaskoski, Chief Medical Officer, shares that, “Patients are placing their life in our hands because they trust they will receive a safe and state of the art outcome.” ASMG’s strength is in the level of consistent performance achieved regardless of which anesthesiologist is involved.
ASMG was first formed in 1946 by San Diego anesthesiologists Douglass Batten and Gordon Langsdorf. Back then, anesthesiologists were required to furnish their own equipment and no recovery rooms existed in San Diego before 1953. Today ASMG has over 270 members, providing their services to Sharp Hospitals, most Scripps Hospitals, Tri-City Medical Center, Rady Children’s Hospital, and 4 of the 6 trauma centers in the county.

Champions for Health recently celebrated everyone contributing to the success of Project Access at the 3rd annual Champions Soirée: To Wellness and Beyond. It takes a village, and that village is all of San Diego County! This year ASMG was awarded Medical Group of the Year. Project Access and our Volunteer physician specialists literally could not perform the medically necessary outpatient surgeries without ASMG. “I am proud of the relationship we have with Champions for Health, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come,” Dr. Raudaskoski shared with GB Magazine.

Since 2008, Project Access has mobilized our network of over 500 physicians in 34 specialty areas, 9 FQHCs, 6 hospitals, 8 surgery centers, many nurses, 80 ancillary partners, and 160 medical interpreters that volunteer their time and talent to provide $24.5 million in pro bono specialty care, procedures and surgeries to over 7,500 patients who have been able to regain their health, return to work, care for their families, and remain productive members of their community. For every $1 spent on program expenses, our partners provide $10 in donated services – a return on investment of 1000%!

Our spirit animal at the Champions Soirée was the butterfly. While butterflies signify different things to different cultures, they exemplify transformation and change. Project Access volunteer physicians are integral to the medical transformations of our patient butterflies. “And just as the caterpillar thought her life was over, she began to fly!” Our volunteers are generous with their time and talent. Be the change you want to see in our San Diego village! Help Project Access patients by donating to Champions for Health, please visit www.championsforhealth.org.

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Esteban Villanueva