Are you from New Haven, Connecticut?
If you are, your community is one of the three pilot communities chosen to receive $100,000 in funding for the launching of pilot programs aimed at improving the screening rates and follow-up care for patients with colorectal cancer, served by the health centers in the community. The other two communities are St. Paul, Minnesota and Port Royal, South Carolina.
A pilot program launched by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable aims to give patients access to screening and follow-up care in community health centers.
Pilot Program By The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable
The three communities were selected after a competitive screening process. Each of the three communities is to develop local models which should address challenges and barriers to access and follow-up care for colorectal cancer patients in the community. This program is under the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable and is the group’s way of reaching 80% of adults age 50 and above to receive regular colorectal screening by 2018.
Collaboration Among Multiple Medical Professional Societies And Government Agencies
For the said program, nine medical professional societies of national prominence will support and join the efforts with:
- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- the American Cancer Society
- the National Association of Community Health Centers
- the Health Resources and Services Administration
- Former Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh
Three communities are bound to enjoy services from nine national medical societies working in collaboration with government agencies in providing patients access to colorectal cancer screening and follow-up care.
Limitation On Access To Screening And Care
Considered the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States among men and women, colorectal cancer is alarmingly on the rise. According to the estimates of the American Cancer Society, over 136,000 adults will be diagnosed with the disease by the end of 2014. And while effective screening tests are made available, the limitation on access to screening and sufficient follow up care is observed among persons of lower socio-economic standing and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities.
Colorectal Cancer: Preventable Death
The average rate of colorectal cancer screening as measured by the 2013 Uniform Data Set (UDS) in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) was only 32% – a much lower rate than the national average. It is an important contributor to deaths that can be avoided.
Community health centers are designed to serve some of the most financially-disadvantaged patients but they reported that an important factor causing the underuse and under-promotion of screening for colorectal cancer in the health center setting in the community is access to specialists.
Multiple Partners Take Active Role In The Program
Community health centers, which often serve some of the most disadvantaged patients, report that access to specialists is one important factor in the underuse and under-promotion of colorectal cancer screening in the community health center setting.
On the national level, this gap will be filled by the medical professional societies that have committed to participate in the program and this effort. They will represent the full continuum of care and will run recruitment of physician leaders from their membership to help in establishing the pilot programs at the local level.
Access To Medical Specialists
Dr. Richard Wender, the American Cancer Society’s chief cancer control and chair of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable considers the program a tremendous effort to get a critical preventive service out of the hospital and into the community, and with every specialist anybody can want at the table to fix the problem:
- the pathologists
- the oncologists
- the gastroenterologists
- the anesthesiologists
Colorectal cancer patients in the three pilot communities are given access to every medical specialist needed to fix the problem.
Moreover, the community health centers are equipped with advanced and high-tech colonoscopy tools and instruments similar to what are found in hospital settings. These instruments are not of sub-standard quality but manufactured by custom CNC machining.
Life-Saving Efforts For The Community
Hence, patients get access to the appropriate medical setting along with the leaders who are willing to work together to have more patients screened and given treatment as necessary. With a lot of work still to be done, support from all members of this multi-partnered and multi-faceted undertaking will help a lot in identifying the best ways to bring screening and care that can save lives in the community.
Aren’t you lucky you live in New Haven, Connecticut?