Einstein Medical Center Montgomery Joins HealthyWoman Network
For underinsured or uninsured patients of certain income levels, breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostics are out of reach.
Or so many of them might think. But assuming they meet eligibility requirements, those patients can get breast and cervical screenings and diagnostic tests for free, thanks to the HealthyWoman program.
Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia is part of the HealthyWoman network in southeast Pennsylvania, and now so is Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton, Pa.
The program receives funding through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which also adds some direct funding. Administrative responsibility for the HealthyWoman program is subcontracted out to the Alliance of Pennsylvania Councils, Inc. In the southeastern Pennsylvania region, the program is administered by AccessMatters.
The HealthyWoman program is grateful to have Einstein Montgomery as a partner, says Elizabeth Dailey, Regional Program Manager of Mature Women’s Services for AccessMatters.
“We were really excited to welcome them into our network for a variety of reasons,” says Dailey. “One being that we know that the Genuardi Family Foundation Maternal Health Center, which is Einstein’s intake site, has a lot of OB-GYN staff who are Spanish-speaking, and we know that there was a need for bilingual service providers in our network. That’s particularly true for the area where Einstein and Genuardi are located (1330 Powell Street in Norristown). We knew from our community-based partners that there was a need out there to reach more folks who might have had more limited access to screening. We are really glad that Einstein can provide free cancer screening services to patients in the Norristown area through HealthyWoman.”
For Einstein Montgomery’s vice president for Healthcare Services, Pat Modafferi, the feeling is mutual.
“What appeals to us is there are women in our community, who for various reasons, may not have access to either cervical screens for cancer or mammography screens,” says Modafferi. “This program, for those who are eligible, removes several barriers.”
Project Associate Amy Green adds, “In the past we’ve talked about those barriers a great deal, when we were discussing the patient experience within this office. Bringing this program definitely adds a new element to that for our unique population at Genuardi.”
Also important, Green adds: Genuardi is located in the center of Norristown, which, she says, “eliminates transportation barriers as well. It’s accessible.”
Norristown, the Montgomery County seat, has one of the area’s largest populations of uninsured and underinsured patients and low-income families, adds Genuardi Center supervisor Rachel Johnson. “So, bringing the program here to Genuardi is just going to speak volumes for this patient population,” she adds.
In addition to the Hispanic population, says Modafferi, the Genuardi outreach effort also aims to connect African-American patients to screening services. “African-American women are 40 percent more likely to die of their breast cancer than their Caucasian counterparts,” she notes.
These services are essential to all women who avail themselves of the program, Dailey explains. People with lower income or who have no or limited health insurance are less likely to take advantage of preventive health services. Patients who fall into those categories are therefore more likely to get breast or cervical cancer, and often find out that they have cancer later in the disease progression. Increased access to early detection services, like those available through HealthyWoman, can help address those disparities.
Providing easy access to screening and diagnostic services for this population, says Modafferi, is any health system’s biggest challenge. “It’s making sure that we have appointments available, it’s making sure we can make the right connection with patient and provider, it’s making sure we remove all the barriers and the taboos that women in the community might have.
“This program affords us the opportunity to not only have resources allocated to taking care of the screenings and care of these patients,” Modafferi says, “but it also gives us the opportunity to make the appropriate connections at the grassroots level, so we can continue to deliver Einstein’s mission to as many as we can reach.”
The HealthyWoman program shares that mission.
“Our model allows us to reimburse our healthcare partners within our network for providing those services,” Dailey adds, “so our partners are given the capacity to see uninsured and underinsured low- and moderate-income patients at no cost for breast and cervical cancer screenings and follow-up diagnostic care.”
Who is eligible?
For a patient living alone, the top income level to be eligible for the HealthyWoman program is $30,350 per year. The top household income level is $105,950 for a patient living in a family of eight—and again, patients must be uninsured or underinsured.
Additionally, the patient must be a resident of Pennsylvania. Patients are eligible for routine breast cancer screening beginning at age 40, and for routine cervical cancer screening beginning at age 21. Patients at high risk for breast cancer may be eligible for screening beginning at age 21. Patients who are having symptoms can receive diagnostic services through the HealthyWoman program if they are age 18 years or older. Patients over 64 are eligible for HealthyWoman services if they do not have coverage through other insurance.
(For complete eligibility requirements, visit the HealthyWoman website.)
There are also two hotlines through which patients can be connected to HealthyWoman services, says Dailey: the statewide HealthyWoman hotline, 1-800-215-7494, and the AccessMatters Information Hotline, 215-985-3300. Patients can also be connected via text message by texting “Screening Matters” to 66746.
Patients seen through the program at the Genuardi Family Foundation Maternal Health Center have been very enthused about the program, says Johnson. So far, 27 patients have been referred to the program—and in one recent case in particular helped detect cancer in its early stage. “It was a life-saving find,” she says. “If we hadn’t found this, I don’t know what her life expectancy would have been if left undetected.”