The Health Department’s role in overall breast health has drastically changed from previous years as funding has been cut. However, what has not, and will not change, is the commitment of the Jackson County Health Department to providing quality care to the patients of their clinic, as well as educating the community. In all facets of the Health Department’s functions, community awareness is vital.
At the Jackson County Health Department, a woman of child bearing age that visits their Family Planning Clinic can still receive a breast screening during a well-woman exam. If the Nurse Practitioner finds something suspicious a referral will be made for the patient. The Nurse Practitioner is also provides education to the patient.
According to Janene Atchley, RN, District Nurse Manager, patients are referred out to a Take Charge! Clinic, where they can be further examined. Take Charge! Clinics are able to provide breast and cervical diagnostic screenings.
Take Charge is Oklahoma’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP). The Oklahoma State Department of Health, Chronic Disease Service, provides this program through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The mission of Take Charge! is to provide women with information and access to screening services in order to reduce morbidity and mortality from breast and cervical cancer.
Services the Take Charge! program provides include a women’s health history, cancer risk history, well-woman assessment, clinical breast exam, pap test and limited screening pelvic exam, education for lowering your cancer risk, free mammogram, and referral and follow-up for women with abnormal results.
Women between the ages of 50 and 65 are eligible for xlinical breast exams, mammograms, pap tests (cervical cancer screening) and follow-up referrals, AND have no insurance. Medicare or Medicaid to cover the screenings, OR have an unmet insurance deductible of $150 or higher, OR women who are eligible for Medicare and are not currently enrolled, may receive services until they are enrolled in Medicare (Women who are eligible for Medicare benefits are encouraged to enroll in Medicare), AND meet the income guidelines. (see inset)
Some women under 50 may qualify for the program depending on income guidelines.
“During Breast Cancer Awareness Month we usually do a radio segment about breast health. The Health Educators usually do different things in the community for awareness as well,” said Atchley.
“We provide a lot of education in the Family Planning Clinic,” Atchley added.
Though patients are no longer able to receive full diagnostic screenings via the Health Department’s Family Planning Clinic, it is still a good starting point for child bearing age women.
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