UTMB Galveston’s Komen Houston-funded program, known as The Komen Complete Care Project, provides breast health education, screening mammograms, diagnostic procedures and patient navigation to low-income, uninsured women residing in southeast Texas.
In conjunction with the Komen Complete Care Project, UTMB Galveston has also partnered with The Ruth Kempner Endowment for Breast Cancer Screening for the last three years to provide free screening mammograms to uninsured women in Galveston County through its Sunday Mammogram Program. Through the collaboration of these two projects, UTMB Galveston is not only able to offer screening mammograms, but can also provide any recommended diagnostic follow up procedures to uninsured, qualified women, free-of-charge.
Women who receive screening mammogram results requiring additional imaging are referred to the Cancer Center patient navigation team. These navigators enroll each woman into UTMB Health’s Komen Complete Care Project, and then help guide them through the bureaucracy of the healthcare system—addressing financial, logistical, and socio-cultural barriers. Navigators assist the patient in the coordination of all diagnostic follow up, including scheduling appointments and addressing case management issues. If a cancer is detected, the treatment navigator will step in to locate a funding source for treatment and guide the patient through all aspects of her cancer care.
“The support of Susan G. Komen® Houston through our Complete Care Project allows us to ensure many of the at-risk women in our community have access to the diagnostic procedures they need following a mammogram,” says Deana Gehring, Project Director for the Komen Complete Care Project at The University of Texas Medical Branch. “Our Komen-funded Complete Care Project navigation team helps many women understand and navigate the hospital and clinic system; a complicated process that often causes women to delay their much needed follow up diagnostic and/or treatment appointments.”
Recent statistics suggest that a significant number of uninsured women in Galveston County are not receiving their annual screening mammograms. In an effort to reach these underserved women, UTMB Health brings the mobile mammography van to churches in Galveston County on Sundays. Although the Sunday Mammogram Program events are hosted at local churches, uninsured program participants do not need to be members of these congregations in order to receive a free screening mammogram, but must pre-register and meet specific eligibility criteria. After identifying at-risk patients at its Sunday Mammography Program events, UTMB Health’s Komen Complete Care grant provides funding for diagnostic procedures for women with abnormal screening mammogram results.
The women guided through the Komen Complete Care Project are receiving access to quality breast care and the personal attention they need to encourage them to face their diagnosis head-on, and UTMB Galveston is dedicated to continuing to serve uninsured women in its community.