Operation Access in San Francisco Coordinates Free Surgeries for Low-Income and Uninsured People

Reach Out: Physicians' Initiative to Expand Care to Underserved Americans

From 1994 to 1998, staff at the Ambulatory Surgery Access Coalition implemented a program called Operation Access to increase access to ambulatory surgery services for medically indigent patients in San Francisco.

The coalition is a private, nonprofit corporation that seeks to deliver ambulatory surgical care at no cost to medically uninsured, low-income individuals in San Francisco, using the donated services of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and technicians on staff at area hospitals.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Reach Out: Physicians' Initiative to Expand Care to Underserved Americans national program.

Key Results:

  • During the grant period, the project—employing two paid staff—provided services to 225 patients, 180 of whom received surgery.
  • Seven area hospitals and 107 medical professionals, including 32 surgeons, participated as Operation Access volunteers.
  • By 2002, the project had more than doubled in capacity, operating with 230 medical volunteers in 14 hospitals across the seven counties of the San Francisco area.

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