Amita St. Joseph Hospital-Elgin partners with A Silver Lining Foundation to continue breast health testing
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in job loss for millions of Americans. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women have been hardest hit by job loss. With the loss of jobs, comes the loss of medical insurance.
This situation has resulted in many women -- in need of diagnostic breast health screenings -- finding themselves in a serious dilemma: lacking medical insurance and unable to afford the cost of needed screenings and treatment.
Fighting for the lives of both men and women is Dr. Sandy Goldberg, a breast cancer survivor and co-founder, with her husband, Greg Hines, of A Silver Lining Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that provides respectful and equal access to cost-free breast health testing. As Dr. Sandy is fond of saying, "We all deserve a chance to survive -- no matter our financial situation, race, or documentation status."
The foundation's breast health testing program has funded breast health care to over 28,000 women in the last 18 years. It accomplishes this through a network of partnerships with 15 health care organizations. Among these is Amita Health St. Joseph Hospital-Elgin, which offers breast health testing, surgery, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and rehabilitation services to residents of the northwest suburbs.
Because of the pandemic, many hospitals paused elective procedures, including routine scans and mammograms that make possible early detection of breast cancer. However, the team at Amita Health St. Joseph Elgin -- a one-stop-shop committed to continuing diagnostic programs safely in this COVID-19 environment -- knew they had to find a way to keep screenings available to those in need. Through a combination of social distancing, vigorous cleaning processes, masks, and intentionality about appointment times, the hospital is currently safely performing vital breast health care services for women.
"Those of us who work in this imaging department are a family, and we care deeply about each of our patients -- we never want anyone to go without the care they need -- pandemic or not," said Heidi Lalowski, manager of radiology and imaging services. "Because of our partnership with A Silver Lining Foundation, whenever a woman comes to us needing breast health testing, we are still able to provide care. We don't want anyone to go unseen or undiagnosed. "
The team at Amita Health St. Joseph-Elgin believes that health care should be accessible, accountable, and holistic. Its partnership with the foundation -- in place since 2014 -- shares that belief and is committed to making sure "no one in need of breast health assistance is turned away." Due to this unique partnership between the hospital and the foundation, 1,437 area women have been able to get the screenings and testing they would not otherwise have been able to access.
The mammography team hears many positive stories from patients who are grateful for the hospital's partnership with the foundation. Recently, one patient came to the hospital as a referral from another facility. To qualify for an organ transplant, the patient needed a mammogram but did not have the necessary funds, and the cost was not covered by her medical insurance. "The patient was very appreciative for help from ASLF which stepped in to arrange for the needed breast health screening," Lalowski said.
A Silver Lining Foundation and the team at Amita Health St. Joseph-Elgin firmly believe cost should never stand between a patient and their needed testing and treatment. Studies show that 98% of breast cancer cases are curable if detected early. If you are aged 40 or older, or have a history of breast cancer in your family, please don't skip the vital, annual breast examination. As we prepare to begin a new year, don't pass up the chance to take control of your health and schedule a breast health test today!
A Silver Lining Foundation's mission is to provide respectful and equal access to cost-free breast health testing through a network of partnerships with community, advocacy, and health care organizations. Their vision for this mission is to ensure that socioeconomic status does not affect an individual's ability to obtain timely breast health testing. This Chicago-based nonprofit partners with 15 hospitals across Chicago, Rockford, Elgin, Evanston, and Des Plaines. Visit www.asilverliningfoundation.org to learn more.
About Amita Health
Amita Health (www.AMITAhealth.org) is a joint operating company formed by AdventHealth in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and St. Louis-based Ascension. Amita Health is one of the largest health systems in Illinois, comprising 19 hospitals and more than 230 sites of care. The health system has 900 providers in its medical groups, more than 26,000 associates and 7,000 physician partners and serves over 6.6 million residents in the greater Chicago area.