Established in 2013 with the help of a $25,000 grant from Bears Care, Methodist Hospitals’ No Woman Left Behind program allows Methodist Hospitals to offer services such as mammograms, ultrasounds, MRIs and biopsies for free to anyone who meets their financial assistance criteria. Since its inception, the program has served hundreds of women, and receives a yearly $20,000 grant from Bears Care to continue offering free screenings. Thanks to No Woman Left Behind, patients like Kara Watts are able to receive care that was once out of reach.
“I have a sister and other family members who have had breast cancer, so I try to get a mammogram yearly,” Watts said. “They tell you at the time of getting results that if you fall into a certain number range they suggest that you also get an ultrasound done. I was in that range, but when I looked at pricing it was very expensive and I couldn’t afford it, so I didn’t have it done that year.”
This past year Watts called Methodist Hospitals to inquire about their ultrasound options, and was pleasantly surprised when staff informed her of the care offered through the Bears Care Program.
“A friendly gentleman answered the phone and when I asked what the price might be for an ultrasound he told me about this program,” Watts said. “After looking at the program criteria, he told me that I qualified and that I would be able to receive my ultrasound for free!”
“I couldn’t believe it,” Watts continued. “Last year I couldn’t afford to have this done, and now through this program I was able to get what had previously been a $99 mammogram and the ultrasound I needed both free of charge! With a family history like mine and just never knowing what might happen, it was really awesome to have that option become available to me.”
It can be easy for people to put their health on the backburner, especially if exams and procedures aren’t covered by insurance and they can’t afford an out of pocket expense, but Methodist Hospitals and Bears Care are working to remove that financial hurdle.
“I feel that there is definitely a high need for health care, especially women’s health care,” Watts said. “A see a lot of women let their health go because life becomes too busy or they don’t make time for themselves, and that added weight of paying for care that insurance may not cover doesn’t help. As I’ve grown older I’ve realized that you have to take care of yourself, because I want to be around for my kids and grandkids.”
“I really praise Bears Care and Methodist Hospitals for doing such a nice, wonderful thing for this area,” Watts said. “I just think this is an incredible program put in place to help women stay on top of their health and not worry about the financial aspect or how that’s going to work out.”
For Watts, the kind staff at Methodist Hospitals make the benefits of the program twofold.
“I have a friend, Rita, that works in their Mammogram department, and I’ve become somewhat accustomed to seeing her when I go. This last time though she wasn’t working so I had to see someone else,” Watts said. “At first seeing someone new made me a bit nervous, but this gal was absolutely phenomenal! She immediately put any reservations I had to rest and took great care of me with such compassion. I have been other places for health care, but Methodist Hospitals has really done a great job with their women’s health department and it shows through all of their facilities and staff.”
The No Woman Left Behind program has been changing the lives of patients for seven years, and with the continued help of Bears Care, Methodist Hospitals will be able to provide crucial services for those who need them for years to come, financial obligations aside.
To learn more about Methodist Hospitals and the Bears Care No Woman Left Behind Program or to see if you qualify, visit www.methodisthospitals.org or call (219)981-5440.