For 22 years, New York state has funded a program providing free mammograms and Nyack Hospital has been a host site for 16 years.
About three or four times a year the hospital holds days at the Breast Center where all they do is administer tests for breast cancer . Dr. Shari Siegel-Goldman, director of breast imaging at the hospital, said they usually see around 140 patients each time they run the program, many of whom don’t have insurance or are underinsured.
“For most of these women who don’t have health insurance, they don’t have time to take care of themselves because they’re also taking care of their family,” she said. “It’s helping to promote women’s wellness.”
The program has seen a rise in attention this year thanks to State Sen. David Carlucci, who sponsored the free screening day back in June, as well as on Friday.
“If you can detect it early, that’s what it’s all about,” Carlucci said. “We need to make sure every segment of our population has options for services like these. We’re so lucky to have this state-of-the-art technology and some of the best doctors around.”
Carlucci said in the future, he’d like to have the screenings at night so those who can’t make it in the morning have a chance to attend a screening.
Jody Tompkins, of Sparkhill, attending the screening in the morning and was finished within 30 minutes of arriving, she said.
“This is a safety net for people who don’t have the means or insurance to have something like this done,” she said. “It’s vital. This is the kind of thing we ask for from those who represent us. I just can’t say how grateful I am for this program. Without it, moms [and] daughters would not have a future.”
Siegel-Goldman said the hospital has people who speak other languages, included Spanish, Russian and Creole, in case someone who comes in doesn’t speak English. If something is found during the initial screening, Siegel-Goldman said the state pays for the additional views and can help the patient get emergency Medicaid.
“We have a very good outreach program and we’d like to improve so we can see half the population in the area each year,” Siegel-Goldman said. “I’m very thankful for the state, Nyack Hospital and Mr. Carlucci’s office that they can all work together to help out this program.”