Breast care resources for the uninsured

by Rhonda Winkles, Piedmont Newnan Hospital

(Editor’s note: Today The Newnan Times-Herald features a guest column from Piedmont Newnan Hospital as part of the focus on Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.)

If you don’t have insurance, the thought of having to cover healthcare costs can be daunting. Often times, people put off going to the doctor for preventive care like annual physicals or yearly mammograms because they don’t think they can afford the out-of-pocket costs.

On average, a standard mammogram for someone without insurance can cost anywhere between $200-400. So, what do you do when you discover a lump in your breast but you don’t have insurance? And, are you supposed to skip your annual mammogram because you find yourself uninsured or even underinsured?

Sadly, many women today find themselves pondering these questions and making difficult decisions about their health care. Some opt to forego breast care all together and that decision can be deadly. What many don’t know, however, is that there are resources right here in Coweta County to help you get your annual mammogram at a reduced price and sometimes, free of cost.

Last year, Piedmont Newnan Hospital was awarded a grant from Cargill, a private and international company with a facility in Newnan, to provide screenings, diagnostic breast imaging and biopsies free of charge to qualifying residents of Coweta County. Since last October, 160 breast health exams have been performed at the Piedmont Newnan Outpatient Center, giving 100 women access to the preventive care they needed.

Of these women, about a dozen needed follow up care within six months, another dozen had breast biopsies and a number of women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Those diagnosed through the Cargill grant can receive Women’s Health Medicaid to fund treatment. Additionally, these women — and all other cancer patients, survivors and caregivers — have access to free programs and services like cooking classes, yoga, massage therapy and more through Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Newnan. Women who are uninsured and who otherwise would not have been able to afford preventive care, now have a fighting chance to defeat the disease that is expected to kill over 39,000 women this year, thanks to the Cargill grant.

For those who do not qualify to utilize the services provided by the Cargill grant, Piedmont is offering mammograms at a reduced price of $75 at various locations throughout October to encourage women to get screened. Extended hours and weekend appointments are available. For more information, visit piedmont.org/mammogram. If you or someone you know is interested in seeing if you qualify for a free mammogram through the Cargill grant, please contact the Coweta County Health Department or call 770-254-7400.

 * * *

(Rhonda Winkles is the manager at the Piedmont Outpatient Center for Piedmont Newnan Hospital. She is a graduate of Emory University and has worked in in the field of radiology for 30 years. She began her career in mammography 16 years ago with a passion for early detection of breast cancer. She is committed to helping women take care of themselves by providing them with all available resources.)



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