Free mammograms aren’t free
I’d like to make a correction to your recent headline of our press release, “SVH offers free mammograms.”
As our press release states, the mammograms are paid for (facility and radiologists’ reading fee) by generous donations from our community, earmarked for women’s health.
Calling them “free” is erroneous. As a nonprofit, community-based hospital that accepts Medicare funding, we cannot provide mammography services for free. That is why we carefully scripted our program as “Sponsored Mammograms.”
This program is specifically designed for women who are uninsured, underinsured or otherwise cannot afford annual screening mammography. SVH provides the imaging and then basically bills the SVH Foundation, which then pays for the services using donated funds. Many women coming in for mammography services assumed that all mammograms were free, since it was October. We have to inform them that we will include them in the program if they cannot afford a mammogram, but if they are well-insured, we will be billing their insurance.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the community for their generous donations to support this program, and to our amazing staff who provide the imaging services with care and compassion to all of our patients.
Please remember that the American Cancer Society still recommends annual screening mammograms for women over 40. Don’t let life get in the way of taking care of this. If you cannot afford it, we can help you. Please call Veronica at 935-5215 to make your appointment or to get more information. The 2012 Sponsored Mammogram Program ends October 31.
Jackie Lyons, RT
Director of Ancillary Services
Sonoma Valley Hospital