From the community

A NO-COST SCREENING THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE

Posted Feb. 22, 2013, at 5:36 p.m.

EASTPORT _ Cervical cancer is treatable if caught early and Eastport Health Care (EHC) hopes to do that for women in Washington County.

In December 2102, EHC was awarded a $55,000 grant from the US Department of Health & Human Services through the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to support improved access to and compliance with recommended cervical cancer screenings for women.

Now, EHC plans to hold a no-cost PAP screening day clinic for existing and new patients. The screenings will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, at EHC’s offices in Eastport at 30 Boynton Street and on March 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at their 53 Fremont Street office in Machias. The grant will cover the cost of a brief examination and testing, among other things. This no-cost screening is open to any woman in Washington County.

A review of all female patients’ ages 18-64 years-of-age revealed that 57 percent of them had a cervical screening test in calendar 2011. The goal for the Quality Improvement project for 2012-13 is to increase that number to 65 percent.

“In an effort to increase awareness and promote women’s health, EHC invites all women 18 and older to this special screening,” EHC CEO Holly Gartmayer-DeYoung said. “Most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer today have not had regular PAP tests or have not followed up on abnormal PAP test results. We believe strongly that their health and wellness is important and we have partnered through a grant with HRSA to support this vital screening.”

The “day clinics” would provide affordable care, coordinate care in accordance with the goals of the patient-centered medical home model and further protect women from the disease. Because Washington County is a poor area, patients often are unaware of the need for screenings and regular medical care; hopefully this grant will help bring about change.

This screening is being offered to any woman over 18 with or without insurance coverage at no-cost to the patient, with the examination and testing covered through this grant program. EHC will additionally have their Patient Assistance staff available to register women over 40 who qualify, for the Maine Breast & Cervical Health Program, which also provides ongoing funding supports for women’s health screenings like mammograms and PAP tests on an annual basis.

EHC is committed to best-practices, providing professional and excellent service by exhibiting a caring and empathic approach toward all individuals that the clinic serves. Aligned with Rural Healthy People 2020 and Maine Healthy People 2020, EHC’s primary goal is to create and sustain a healthy Washington County.

EHC offers a comprehensive range of medical and professional services not only to area residents, but to any resident of Washington County. EHC’s focus is on primary health care including podiatry, oral health, radiology, mental health, substance abuse, care management, nephrology, core laboratory, as well as other services.

Eastport Health Care is a federally qualified rural health center (FQHC) with offices in Eastport, Calais and Machias.

To schedule a screening, please call 853-6001 in Eastport or 255-8290 in Machias.

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