On Friday, May 11, Boston Get Your Rear in Gear 5K co-chairs Brian Shelly and Caitlin Gambee had the honor of announcing a new partnership with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers creating the Colon Cancer Screening & Education Program (CCSEP). The $93,500 check presented to the League will fund a first-of-its-kind program for the League, addressing needs related to colon cancer screenings and treatment not covered by insurance for those affected by this disease in Massachusetts.
Representatives from the Colon Cancer Coalition and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers were on-site at The Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, to officially announce this new partnership. “We are very grateful to the local Get Your Rear in Gear affiliate for their generous donation,” said James W. Hunt, Jr, president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “This funding will not only help increase awareness among our patients about the importance of colon cancer screening and treatment, it will go far in breaking down some of the financial barriers that prevent patients from accessing the kinds of preventive services which are critical to their long-term health.”
The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers is a non-profit, statewide association representing and serving the needs of the state’s 50 community health center organizations, which provide primary and preventive care to some 800,000 Massachusetts residents. The CCSEP represents the first-ever League funding initiative where health center patients receive direct assistance covering expenses related to colon cancer screening and treatment which are not reimbursable through health insurance.
Community health center patients face a distinct set of challenges in accessing health care; ninety percent of League patients have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, leaving them with limited resources to pay for insurance deductibles and co-pays, as well as child care, transportation and other costs associated with screening and treatment. The primary mission of the League and health centers is to eliminate barriers to care for the vulnerable populations they serve. The funding from the Colon Cancer Coalition will aid in these efforts by allowing health center physicians to provide targeted financial assistance to patients on a case-by-case basis. Eligible expenses through the CCSEP include:
- Pre- and post- colonoscopy prep products and medications,
- Transportation to and from procedures,
- Translations services needed during procedures,
- Co-pays and deductibles,
- Cost of diagnostics resulting from screening, ie: removal of polyps, and
- Cost of ancillary services needed to support patient through colon cancer treatment, including day care , meal, home care, and medication expenses.
All funds for this program were raised from the inaugural Boston Get Your Rear in Gear 5K in November 2011. The 2012 race is set for October 13, 2012 at Castle Island in South Boston.
“We are proud to work with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to create this program,” said Brian Shelly, Boston Get Your Rear in Gear Race Co-Chair. “We are excited to know that those confronted with a colon cancer diagnosis now have monetary resources available to help with treatment and other related expenses. Education and prevention are key with this disease, we are glad that the funds raised at the race can make such a positive impact on Massachusetts.”