Health Access Program

  • This is a picture of students at the NSC health fair.
    Drexel College of Medicine students provide health information at an NSC Health Fair.
In a survey conducted in 2014, over 60% of clients served by NSC reported that they did not know where to turn when sick and over half reported that they had experienced a time when they needed to see a doctor but could not because of costs.

The Greater Philadelphia region is home to large and growing foreign born population, accounting for over 10% of our regional population. Yet many newcomers, including immigrants and refugees, lack access to even the most basic health services. Uninsured rates for immigrants are almost four times higher than native born populations. In a survey conducted in 2014, over 60% of clients served by NSC reported that they did not know where to turn when sick and over half reported that they had experienced a time when they needed to see a doctor but could not because of costs. Furthermore, many immigrants and refugees have experienced hardship and trauma overseas. Yet most lack access to behavioral health care and related supports is severely lacking. These basic access issues, when compounded with language access challenges and limited community knowledge of available resources, can result in significant health disparities for immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia.

The Health Access Program (HAP) at Nationalities Service Center assists NSC clients with overcoming barriers to quality healthcare, including language access and access to health insurance. The HAP connects clients to primary care through close partnerships with local clinics, which are selected based on their ability to serve linguistically and culturally diverse groups. The HAP also helps clients to access dental care, specialty care and other health-related services.  Additionally, as a Certified Application Counselor site, NSC provides enrollment assistance in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act Marketplace to eligible clients.  NSC also hosts health fairs and on-site health screenings.


Clients are referred to the HAP through NSC attorneys, case managers, teachers and other staff.  For more information about the Health Access program, contact Ariel Ressler MacNeill, amacneill@nscphila.org.