At Family Care Health Centers, the Breast Health Screening Access Project works to ensure that all patients get the breast health care they need.
With the help of two mammography vans provided through Barnes-Jewish Hospital, women are educated on their own breast cancer risk and have the opportunity to get a mammogram. The vans make visits to both Family Care Health Center locations once a month.
The program also offers patient navigation services for patients ages 40-64. Although navigation is available to all patients who meet the age requirement, over half of the women who benefit from the navigation services are uninsured. The other half are mostly low income; about 25 percent of them are on Medicaid, and the other 25 percent have insurance.
This is the 5th year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program.
Chereese Agard, RN and Breast Health Navigator, explains the importance of these services, especially for those patients whose lack of insurance presents a barrier to treatment. “Our project connects women with resources,” she says. “It is a great help to those who don’t have access to them or don’t know where to go for treatment.”
For a recipient of patient navigation services, the first step is an appointment with a mammography van.
Once that first appointment is scheduled, the navigator also follows up and provides additional services if necessary.
“The navigator will schedule follow-up appointments or appointments with a breast surgeon if needed,” says Chereese.
Last year, the Breast Health Screening Access Project, through Komen St. Louis funding, was able to provide patient navigation services to more than 1,000 women, allowing them to access the treatment they needed.
In 2013, Komen St. Louis granted $2.2 million to 13 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including Family Care Health Centers’ Breast Health Screening Access Project. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, education and patient navigation services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.