Commonly Overlooked Barriers to Breast Health
How alleviating transportation challenges can improve access to care
By Medline Newsroom Staff | October 15, 2019
Routine doctor’s visits may seem like a natural and easy part of monitoring breast health, but what if you’re not able to get there physically? Though you may not realize it, access to transportation is still a challenge for many women in America seeking care.
Reliable transportation, however, is pivotal to ensuring patients and communities are connected to the right resources at the right time to get the care they need. Barriers to it exist for various reasons, shaped by a range of socioeconomic factors, but a number of organizations, including the non-profit The Rose, are working to overcome them to make quality care possible.
The Rose is a nonprofit organization in Houston that works to prevent breast cancer-related deaths due to delayed diagnosis and treatment. It is one of eight non-profit organizations to be awarded the 2019 Medline Breast Cancer Awareness Grant. The organization, along with one other awardee, will use funding to support mobile programs that provide breast cancer screenings.
In The Rose’s mobile program, known as Mobile Mammography, two health coaches travel to 41 counties across southeast Texas to offer women 3D mammograms. Common barriers for the women they reach are geography and transportation. These challenges persist in states like Texas, where only about half of the counties have mammography facilities.
“Even if you have insurance, you might not have access to a breast cancer center,” said Shannon Lecoq, chief development officer for The Rose. “For uninsured individuals, particularly those in rural areas, you may end up driving two or three hours to a metropolitan area to get access to services that cater to under-served populations.”
The Mobile Mammography program was formed in 2006 to address geographical challenges that get in the way of care. While other mobile programs exist within the state, The Rose’s program is the only one that extends beyond a 50-mile radius to cover over 41 counties, and to care for the uninsured as well as the insured.
Last year alone the program reached nearly 9000 women, more than 3000 of whom were uninsured. More than half of surveyed patients who used The Rose’s mobile services say that, if the program did not exist, they would not have otherwise taken time away from work to schedule their mammogram.
“Medline is proud to support organizations like The Rose that are tirelessly breaking down barriers to care and creating solutions that are having a clear impact on communities,” said senior philanthropy manager Karen Frey. “By empowering them, we can together overcome these great healthcare challenges and drastically improve upon the quality of care patients everywhere receive.”
Learn more about Medline’s Community Impact Grant Program for Breast Cancer Awareness.