Breast cancer screening accessible in New York

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Under Gov. Cuomo, New York state has taken the most aggressive action in the nation to improve access to breast cancer screening to help more women gain access to the health care and services they need and deserve. On Jan. 1, this legislation commenced to expand screening hours at hospitals and clinics, remove insurance barriers and offer paid leave for screenings to all public employees.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in New York. It is also the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in New York women. The best protection against breast cancer is early detection and diagnosis.

New York state’s new breast cancer programs eliminate annual deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance payments (“cost-sharing”) for all screening mammograms, diagnostic imaging for breast cancer, diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast MRIs for women at high risk for breast cancer, including those provided to women more frequently than current federal screening guidelines such as annual mammograms for women in their 40s.

New York State Commercial Insurance reimburses (no out-of-pocket expenses) for mammography screening including 3D, mammography diagnostic including 3D, breast ultrasound, and MRI of breast for qualifying patients.

The government-sponsored insurance reimburses (no out-of-pocket expenses) for Medicare screening including 3D, Medicare diagnostic breast imaging including ultrasound and MRI 80/20, and Medicaid screening and diagnostic including 3D.

If you are uninsured and age 40 to 64, you may be eligible to receive a free mammogram from the Cancer Services Program of Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady counties. You can reach them by calling (518) 841-3726.

New York state’s new breast cancer programs require expanded hours in the early morning, early evening and weekends. At St. Mary’s Healthcare, our hours include exams from 6:45 a.m. and as late as 6 p.m. and every Saturday.

Early detection saves lives.

WENDY LUCAS

Women’s imaging supervisor,

St. Mary’s Healthcare Breast

Health Center

Amsterdam