If found early, nearly all breast and cervical cancers can be treated successfully. In Ohio, most women have insurance coverage and these screenings are covered at no cost. For women without insurance, there may be programs to help them receive these lifesaving screenings.
The Southeastern Ohio Breast and Cervical Cancer Project (SEOBCCP) is one such program that is near and dear to my heart. Why? It is because it was the first program with which I was assigned to work when I volunteered at the Meigs County Health Dept. (MCHD) while attending Ohio University in the 1990s; I have continued to collaborate with the SEOBCCP throughout my career at the MCHD. The SEOBCCP also helps the MCHD achieve its mission to preserve, promote, and protect the health and well-being of Meigs County (of which 50.7% is female).
According to the Ohio Dept. of Health (ODH), 677 Meigs County women have been served by the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project (BCCP) between March 1994 – April 2019. As a result of collaborative efforts by the MCHD and SEOBCCP, I personally know of three Meigs ladies who have been diagnosed with breast cancer; received assistance along their cancer journey and are survivors.
Unfortunately, there still are many women who are not being screened for these cancers. According to the 2019 Meigs County Community Health Assessment, Meigs County’s screening rate for both cancers is below the Healthy People 2020 target.
The ODH BCCP can help all women navigate cancer screenings. BCCP’s Patient Navigation Program helps guide women through the healthcare system, find providers and community resources, and answer questions about scheduling appointments, using insurance, and more.
Additionally, the Ohio BCCP program also offers no-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic testing to qualified participants. Ohio’s BCCP is a limited screening and diagnostic program that provides services to eligible women in Ohio as follows: Cervical Cancer Screening & Diagnostic Services – Age 21 years and older; Income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL); Uninsured or underinsured (effective Nov. 4, 2019); Ohio Resident. Breast Cancer Screening & Diagnostic Services – Age 21-39 years with a physician report abnormality or other factors; Age 40 years and older; Income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL); Uninsured or underinsured (effective Nov. 2019); Ohio Resident.
If ladies receive a breast or cervical cancer diagnosis through Ohio’s BCCP, help likely is available. Federal law allows states the option of providing full Medicaid coverage to certain women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer including pre-cancerous conditions. The Ohio Department of Medicaid operates this program in tandem with ODH. Benefits are issued through the Ohio Medicaid program. BCCP Medicaid may be available to women who: have been screened for breast or cervical cancer through ODH (required); are ages 40 to 65 years of age; are in need of treatment for breast and/or cervical cancer including precancerous conditions (eligibility will end when the treatment is completed); are uninsured (do not have health insurance which covers both inpatient and outpatient care); are Ohio residents are U.S. citizens or qualified aliens (verification of U.S. citizenship or alien status is required).
For more information or to enroll in the SEOBCCP, please contact the Noble County Health Department (the enrollment agency that serves Meigs County and 18 other Southeastern Ohio counties) at 1-800-23-NOBLE.
Sources: ODH, Ohio Dept. of Medicaid
Courtney C. Midkiff, BSC, is the Administrator at the Meigs County Health Department.