GREENFIELD — A clinic catering to the needs of uninsured women recently got a boost that will help it provide dozens more free or low-cost exams each year to area women in need.
Hancock Regional Hospital’s Andis Women’s Clinic recently received more than $36,000 in grant funding from Susan G. Komen Central Indiana through the Education and Linkage to Care grant, which helps the clinic serve and educate under-insured or uninsured women in Hancock, Henry, Marion, Rush and Shelby counties, said Liz Mensching, Susan G. Komen Central Indiana communications manager.
The clinic uses grant funding to offset the cost of medical treatment for women who don’t have insurance or whose insurance won’t cover a diagnostic exam, which is a more in-depth imaging of the breast tissue requested after an initial screening, said Lisa Wood, Hancock Regional Hospital director of imaging.
This year’s grant will cover the cost of 55 screening mammograms, 30 clinical breast exams and 78 diagnostic breast exams to area women who are uninsured or under-insured and visit the part-time clinic for help, she said.
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Komen, which funds research and treatment of breast cancer, has provided some $260,000 in grant funding to the Andis Women’s Clinic over the last 17 years, Wood added. Last year, the Greenfield-based part-time clinic, 801 N. State St., served 350 women and provided 151 total screenings. Of those, 55 screening mammograms, 25 clinical breast exams and 60 diagnostic breast exams were funded by Komen Central Indiana, Wood said.
The 2017-18 grant amount increased by more than $1,000 from last year’s amount, Wood said.
The clinic, open to under-insured or uninsured women on Wednesdays, and Monday evenings once a month, relies on funding from the state and Komen Central Indiana, as well as raising its own funds through events, Wood said.
While the clinic provides exams and screenings, an important part of its mission happens outside the office’s walls, she said. Every year, health professionals work to educate women about getting screenings to catch cancer early, she said.
Each client receives educational counseling and a bag of educational materials, said clinic coordinator Becky Pohland. Clinic staff members also educate the public about women’s health issues through events like the Heartbeats Health Fair and health-related fundraiser events, she said.
Andis Women’s Center also sends educators to talk with area groups about women’s health issues, Pohland said.
The Komen grant process is rigorous, as the center must undergo site visits and other follow-up procedures to ensure they’re investing their funding properly, Wood said.
One advantage the Andis Women’s Center has during the application process is its service to an area — Rush County — where more women than the state average are diagnosed with later-stage breast cancer, Wood said.
One of Komen’s priorities is to educate and serve communities with a high risk of late-stage breast cancer in order to decrease the rate of late stage breast cancer, and Rush County, part of the center’s coverage area, statistically shows that risk, she said.
Rush County shows one of the lowest rates for breast cancer in Komen Central Indiana’s service area, according to a 2014 study released by the organization. However, the death rate — 27 women per 100,000 — is higher than the national and state averages of 22.6 and 23.9 respectively, according to the study. The area’s late-stage incidence rate, 42.5 women per 100,000, is also higher than the state average, 41.1, the study shows.
Wood said she, and by extension, the Andis Women’s Clinic, are grateful to Komen Central Indiana for the support and look forward to helping the national organization in its goal of reducing the breast cancer rate by 50 percent by 2026.
Susan G. Komen Central Indiana provides funding to agencies serving 41 Indiana counties. Indianapolis-based Little Red Door Cancer Agency, which offers cancer screenings and education and serves central Indiana counties including Hancock, also received one of the grants.
The Andis Women’s Clinic at Hancock Regional Hospital provides women’s health services including clinical breast exams, mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, pelvic exams, hormone replacement counseling and birth control counseling for at-risk, uninsured or under-insured women in Hancock, Henry, Marion, Rush and Shelby counties.
The clinic is open to all women and is staffed part time by a women’s health nurse practitioner, clinic coordinator and Hancock OBGYN physician. To make an appointment, call clinic coordinator Becky Pohland at 317-468-4641 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.