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Pilot Cervical Cancer Screening Program Gets Check Up

A new pilot program launched in Colorado to reduce cervical cancer got its annual checkup, and the results are good. (Pixabay)
A new pilot program launched in Colorado to reduce cervical cancer got its annual checkup, and the results are good. (Pixabay)
April 20, 2016

DENVER - A new pilot program launched in Colorado to reduce cervical cancer got its annual checkup, and the results are good.

Dr. David Stevens, with the RCHN Community Health Foundation, recently completed a series of site visits to monitor the program's progress and said the process of improving screening rates is helping to strengthen the medical home model in Colorado clinics.

"The kinds of changes that they're making in their practices for cervical-cancer screening are the same kinds of changes that they'll make in other areas of chronic disease and prevention." Stevens said.

Colorado sees some 160 new cervical-cancer cases and almost 40 related deaths each year, he said. The pilot was designed to reach populations most at risk for the disease, which include low-income women and women of color.

Jessica Sanchez, vice president for quality and operations at the Colorado Community Health Network, the group overseeing the program, said the goal of improving screening rates by at least 5 percent in six of its clinics is well within reach. She said clinics are streamlining workflows, making key partnerships to increase capacity and lowering barriers for women to get tested. The number of women patients at health centers is on the rise since the program started, she said, and there has been an increase in vaccine rates for HPV.

"We saw a huge change in the way messaging was being done, especially to women, that would increase adherence," she said. "So it was no longer talked about as a Pap test; it was really talked about as cancer screening."

The Colorado Community Health Network was awarded $150,000 in July to launch the pilot, and Sanchez said she's hopeful it can be replicated across the state and nationally. The RCHN Community Health Foundation made similar grants for health initiatives last year in Arizona, California, Missouri and New York.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO