As St. Vincent’s efforts are underway to upgrade the mobile mammography program, we continue to provide services to underserved women by enhancing accessibility for screenings at St. Vincent’s Breast Health Center located at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. Our request to the NBCF is for screening and diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds based on our needs tracking for our patient population. This need could be attributed to the delays in screening attributed to COVID-19.
Measures we are instituting to accelerate accessibility include:
1) Providing aggressive outreach to the targeted population (church network, housing authority, minority newspapers, community-based organizations); (2) Providing ease of scheduling an appointment by a direct number; (3) Providing flexible scheduling in the evening and on weekends; (4) Providing transportation vouchers or bus tokens (the Breast Center is on a bus-line). We outreach to at-risk asymptomatic women of all backgrounds who are medically underserved: elderly, minority, uninsured, underinsured, or face barriers that prevent them from accessing services. Our bilingual staff (Spanish/English) ensure that language barriers do not prevent access to care.
St. Vincent’s is among the largest multidisciplinary cancer treatment centers in Connecticut. We use an ‘above and beyond’ approach to ensure that all follow-up care is secured, and no one is left without resources. Our patient demographic contains a high number of undocumented individuals who do not quality for any government-subsidized health insurance. We also target underserved women who do not have health insurance or who have high co-pays that make breast health services unaffordable on a limited income. Our team-based approach includes bilingual schedulers and care coordinators, as well as dedicated health educators and patient navigators, case managers, nurses, and radiologists. We provide a complete continuum of care for our patients at no cost. If breast problems are discovered, one of our two Breast Health Educator/Navigators will follow up to provide the necessary education and resources. As part of the Hartford HealthCare system, we covers the full state with 7 acute hospitals. The ability for strong community outreach and wanting to care for the underserved populations is prevalent throughout the system.
“It is critical to have these grants to assist with our underserved patients in the community. The more patients we screen the more patients we can cure.” — Dr. Richard Zelkowitz, Regional Medical Director of the Breast Program, Fairfield
Donations are always appreciated, but there are lots of great ways to get involved.