The new Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS) Van was unveiled on Tuesday, June 21 at Legislative Hall in Dover. The program included tours of the medical unit, remarks from program facilitators and elected officials, and a toast to the success of the program. Guests included Governor Jack Markell, Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf, Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, staff from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) and Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS) program, DPH staff, and members of the Delaware General Assembly, including Senator Patricia Blevins, Senator Hall-Long, and former Senator Liane Sorenson.
The van is a collaborative effort between the State of Delaware and Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS), a subsidiary of DBCC. The van is owned by DPH and the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition holds the operating contract. In March, the WMHS program received a new, state-of-the-art van that combines digital imaging equipment and health professionals from Beebe Medical Center. The Delaware General Assembly allocated funding for the van in June 2015.
“When we catch cancers early, we protect Delawareans from early death, disfigurements, complex health problems – and devastated families,” said Governor Jack Markell. “The work the coalition has done over 25 years has saved lives and preserved families.”
“Screening is saving lives in Delaware,” Secretary Landgraf said. “Because of organizations like the Delaware Breast Cancer and Screening for Life within the Department of Health and Social Services, it is highly likely that improving the early detection of breast cancer contributed to Delaware’s progress in breast cancer mortality.”
Delaware’s all-site cancer mortality rate has dropped, from second-highest in the country in the early 1990s to 14th for the period of 2007-2011. Delaware’s breast cancer mortality rate currently ranks 17th-highest in the country.
Starting in July, in addition to mammography screenings, the van will offer cervical cancer screenings and blood pressure screenings, as well healthy lifestyle education. A prescription from a medical professional is no longer necessary to be screened.
“We will also talk to women on the van about risk factors for cancer (and other chronic diseases),” Dr. Rattay said. “Women will receive glucose screening (for diabetes), tobacco cessation referrals, Body Mass Index screening, and physical activity and nutrition education.”
“I am pleased to finally see the new and improved women’s mobile health screening van on the road and bringing lifesaving mammography screenings to some of our most vulnerable populations,” says Senator Patricia Blevins. “The van serves nearly 800 women a year who might not otherwise have access to mammography screenings and with the new addition of a room for examinations, it will bring even more value to the women in Delaware who need it most.”
Through the WMHS program, more than 8,500 women were screened since July of 2004. Of those, more than 4,200 were through the Screening for Life (SFL) program. Over the past 15 years, SFL provided 25,000 uninsured or under-insured women in Delaware with more than 48,000 breast cancer screenings.
Women who qualify for the SFL program may receive free mammography services as well as cervical, screenings. WMHS also accepts Medicaid, Medicare, most health insurance, and self-pay clients. Patients should check with insurance providers to find out if they are covered. WMHS staff helps women apply for SFL or find another program that can help cover the cost of screening. Patients also can arrange for transportation or an interpreter through WMHS.
“By having a background in both healthcare and nursing and co-chairing the Delaware Cancer Consortium, I have seen firsthand the effects that cancer can have on all of those who are touched by this disease,” says Senator Bethany Hall-Long. “Early detection can be lifesaving when it comes to screenings for breast cancer which is why having access to the mobile mammography van can help reduce mortality and morbidity in our population.”
The van primarily targets those who are uninsured and/or low income; however, all women can be screened on the van. The van regularly visits community centers, senior centers, health care facilities, and employers throughout the state. Most women screened on the van are age 40 or older. For more information on the Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van, call 888-672-9647.
Event Photos by CM Baker. Captions below (from left to right).
Top Left: Group shot in front of the van
Top Right: Katelynn Mayers, Governor Jack Markell, Bethany Hall-Long
Bottom Left: Vicky Cooke and Liard Stabler
Bottom Right: Rebecca Elzey, Donna Stinson, Vicky Cooke, Christina Richter, Ciro Poppiti, Patti Key, and Linda Powell