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Caring for the Community: Improving Access to Care

(Left to Right) Sarah Jones, Komen; Brittony Moriarity, EduCare; Kim Ritchie, EduCare; Beth Jones, EduCare; Christina Urie, EduCare; Vicky Alexander, EduCare; Jill Vanderhoek, Komen; and Karen Adams, EduCare.

 

The health care system can often be overwhelming and complicated to navigate. For those who need the services, being able to easily access them can make all the difference. One of the four priority areas for Houston Healthcare’s Community Outreach Plan is to improve the ease of access to healthcare. This is done by addressing possible barriers such as lack of insurance or financial ability to pay, as well as assisting persons in understanding or navigating the health care system. A great example of improving access to care is the partnership between Houston Healthcare and the Central Georgia Affiliate of Komen for the Cure. This partnership has been in place since 2005 with Komen providing annual grant funding for projects designed by Houston Healthcare to improve access to breast health services.

The goal is to identify breast cancer early when it is the most treatable. The barriers identified in the Komen Central Georgia Profile confirm the challenges identified by our staff which include: (1) a lack of education on the need for breast health services, (2) a lack of finances to pay for a mammogram, (3) a lack of ability to navigate the health care system, and (4) apprehension over having a mammogram and what the screening may reveal. All of this leads to decreased access to appropriate care.

The purpose of the partnership is to provide mammograms for lower income, uninsured women. The target group includes women who – without this assistance – are unable to afford a mammogram and navigate the health care system. To qualify, the woman must be uninsured and 200 percent of the poverty level. The process begins with a referral to EduCare, our Community Education Department. Most referrals come directly from physician offices or from the Houston County Volunteer Medical Clinic. A Referral Services Coordinator is in place to assist with the activities related to education and obtaining a voucher for a mammogram. She works closely with Houston Healthcare’s Radiology departments in scheduling the screening and follows up as needed. Women who have an abnormal mammogram receive counseling and assistance.

“Houston Healthcare is fortunate to receive this funding as we continue to care for women in our community who need mammograms,” states Beth Jones, RNC, Director of Community Education and Services for Houston Healthcare. “Because of this continued partnership, we are able to assist more uninsured women who need annual mammograms while educating them about breast health and the fight against breast cancer.”

The impact of the program reaches throughout Houston County providing education, mammograms, and assistance to obtain services. In addition to providing screenings, unique educational events are offered including Cancer BINGO, education programs for community groups, and the annual Pink Picnic held each October. For more information, call (478) 923-9771.

Houston Medical Center
1601 Watson Boulevard
Warner Robins, Georgia 31093
Telephone: (478) 922-4281

 

Wi-Fi Houston Healthcare provides wireless internet accessability for our patients and visitors throughout the facilities

Perry Hospital
1120 Morningside Drive
Perry, Georgia 31069
Telephone: (478) 987-3600

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