Altru -- Photo 5

Altru’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative

  • Submitted by Altru Health System
  • from Grand Forks, ND


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Altru’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative involves an awareness campaign, fund raising efforts, and financial assistance to engage our community. Due to our low screening rate (31% of those at high risk for colorectal cancer have never had a colonoscopy), Altru Health System adopted an initiative to increase our community’s screening rate and reduce the number colorectal cancers diagnosed in Stage III and IV.

A fall awareness campaign is planned focusing on “1 in 20 has colon cancer” to highlight the prevalence of colorectal cancer and encourage screenings. The campaign includes digital signage, print and on line advertising, social media, and radio. By using humor, our campaign should reduce the fears associated with colonoscopies and increase the number of screenings.

Despite recent legislation, there remains unexpected cost sharing for patients in need of a colonoscopy screening. The out-of-pocket expense can be a financial barrier to patients getting screened. Financial assistance is available for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured and meet our established financial guidelines. A financial package is developed for each qualifying patient. It may include help with the cost of the colonoscopy (averages $1,800), the prescription for bowel prep (up to $85), or the travel to the screening. Some patients may need to travel up to 180 miles for the screening.

Sustaining the marketing campaign and financial assistance program requires funding. Altru’s Harvest Gala has a goal to raise $225,000 for these efforts.

The goals for our service area are:
• By 2018, reduce number of Stage III or IV colorectal cancers diagnosed at Altru to 20%.
• By 2018, increase number of screening colonoscopies performed at Altru by at least 13%.
• By August 31, 2015, provide some level of financial support for screening colonoscopies to at least 54 financially qualified patients.
• By 2018, increase colorectal cancer screening rate to 80%.

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