Financial assistance

Yampa Valley agencies work to educate non-English speakers about the importance of mammograms

Raquel Marin, language services coordinator for UCHealth, provides interpretation during a mammogram performed by Beth Donofrio, mammography technologist at UCHealth Gloria Gossard Breast Care Center in Steamboat Springs.
UCHealth/Courtesy Photo

Nonprofit agencies and healthcare providers in the Yampa Valley are trying to help non-English speaking women get mammograms seamlessly.

As someone new to Northwest Colorado, housing, jobs, child care, family, and transportation are often at the top of women’s priority lists, above their own needs. of health and well-being.

Add in any language barrier, and having a mammogram could fall to the bottom of the to-do list, despite the importance of regular screenings.

About one in eight American women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and experts say breast cancer survival rates are much higher when caught early, when the cancer is localized in the body. .

Women new to town and without adequate health insurance can visit Integrated Community and learn about primary care physicians, which often means a referral to Northwest Colorado Health, said Nelly Navarro, executive director of the nonprofit Integrated Community.

At Northwest Colorado Health, the first medical visit includes basic questions to determine if a woman is receiving care for important health issues such as dental exams, pap smears, and mammograms. From there, a care coordinator can contact one of two Yampa Valley hospitals to submit a mammogram appointment request.

For screenings at the UCHealth Gloria Gossard Breast Cancer Center in Steamboat Springs, hospital staff can schedule an interpreter in person to meet patients when they check in for a mammogram.

Navarro said the cost of a mammogram is usually a first question for non-English speaking customers. The base price for a mammogram and any necessary follow-up ultrasounds ranges from $500 to $600 each. However, several financial assistance programs are available, ranging from Women’s Wellness Connection via Northwest Colorado Healthat UCHealth Resources, Steamboat Bust.

Lindsey Reznicek, communications strategist at Yampa Valley Medical Center, noted that under the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurers must provide coverage for preventative health care for women such as mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and prenatal care without cost sharing.

Navarro said other health care barriers come into play, such as transportation, especially bus transportation to appointments in southern Routt County, or navigating financial assistance for screenings. follow-up breasts such as an ultrasound.

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“From what I’ve seen, Northwest Colorado Health is doing a great job of getting every patient to have a mammogram,” Navarro said. “The problem comes from additional projections and cost concerns. If they need an ultrasound, people opt out for financial reasons.

Jan Fritz, a retired former Director of Cancer Services at YVMC and now a board member of the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project, also known as Steamboat Bustsaid low-income patients can apply for financial assistance at the Gloria Gossard Breast Care Center or email [email protected] for more information.

Fritz said the Bust of Steamboat has helped 425 cancer patients over the past five years, while distributing $211,000 for patient needs and equipment.

Women who qualify financially can enroll in Northwest Colorado Health’s Well Women’s Connection program, with information available at The Connection is a statewide program that offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings at more than 100 clinics across Colorado.

According to patient volume data from the Gloria Gossard Breast Care Center, approximately 90 non-English speaking patients receive mammograms at the center each year. This number reached 90 on September 21, indicating an upward trend.

Navarro said another issue for women’s breast health care for newcomers who are learning English could be receiving previous screening results from a medical provider in another country for purposes of comparison with ongoing screening. Navarro previously worked as a medical interpreter at Yampa Valley Medical Center and Northwest Colorado Health, and she estimated that 70% of the time records from other countries are not accessible.

Raquel Marin, language services coordinator at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, said patients for whom English is a second language are asked to sign a waiver if they decline assistance from a certified medical interpreter, but that rarely occurs. Hospital staff discourage family members or friends from interpreting for patients because “family members are emotionally invested and may unknowingly make certain errors in medical terminology,” Marin said.

“We encourage people to use interpreting services even when they feel bilingual,” Marin said. “We let them know that with medical terminology things can get tricky and things can get lost. We also ask that the supplier feel comfortable with the communication.

If the patient’s native language is not available from an in-person interpreter, a virtual interpreter service is available. Marin said the greatest need for interpretation is Spanish, then French, followed by Russian or Vietnamese.

“Not being able to communicate with a supplier in your native language can generate more stress,” Navarro said.