Screenings made possible through Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust license plates
NORTHWEST INDIANA – Women in need of mammograms in Northwest Indiana may be able to receive them free of charge thanks to a grant to Franciscan Health from the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust.
The grant supports mammograms at the Franciscan Health Women’s Center in Chesterton, Franciscan Health Breast Care Center Crown Point, Franciscan Health Breast Center Dyer, Franciscan Health Breast Care Center Michigan City and Franciscan Health Breast Center Munster.
The grant funds are awarded by the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust, Inc. (IBCAT), the mission of which is to increase awareness and improve access to breast cancer screenings, diagnoses and support services across Indiana. The efforts are made possible through the sale of breast cancer awareness special recognition license plates as well as financial donations.
Each license plate sold through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles generates a $25 donation.
The program provides screenings for the uninsured, underinsured and those with high deductible insurance plans. The grant funding covers screenings for individuals in households with gross incomes of up to 300% above the poverty line. That means a single woman with a gross annual income of $43,740 or lower or a family of four with a gross annual income of $90,000 or less may qualify for a free mammogram.
Franciscan Health is drawing attention to the program during October, which is recognized internationally as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Franciscan Health Michigan City Nurse Breast Navigator Amy Johnson BSN, RN, CPHQ, said the grant funds can also be used for diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies.
“We know we have identified cancer and have been able to treat cancers as a direct result of this program,” Johnson said. “It is so important to get screenings because the sooner we discover something, the better. It can also just put your mind at ease that everything is fine.”
Pam Bolda, RN, breast nurse navigator for Franciscan Health Crown Point, said women don’t need to be afraid to ask if they qualify, regardless of their income level.
“Most people assume if they don’t have insurance or they can’t afford a co-pay that they simply can’t get their mammogram and that isn’t always the case,” Bolda said.
Christine Phillips, RN, breast nurse navigator for Franciscan Health Munster, said there are many excuses women use for putting off scheduling their mammograms.
“People don’t come because they’re worried we’ll find something,” Phillips said. “Some say cancer doesn’t run in their family so they don’t need to worry about it. The reality is everyone needs to be screened and this program can help make it easier to do so.”
Patients must live in Indiana and be screened by phone to see if they qualify.
To apply for the program through the Franciscan Health Breast Care Center Michigan City or the Franciscan Health Women’s Center in Chesterton, call Amy Johnson at (219) 877-1981.
To apply through Franciscan Health Breast Center Dyer and Franciscan Health Breast Center Munster, call (219) 922-4070.
To apply through Franciscan Health Breast Care Center Crown Point, call Central Scheduling at (877) 233-2774.