Mobile mammogram initiative emphasizes prevention

April 23, 2019
mobile mammogramOn January 24, a pink and white van pulled into the parking lot at a Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Houston office. Over the course of the day, 12 women enrolled in HealthSelectSM of Texas climbed aboard to get their preventive screening mammogram.

One week later, that same van parked at another DFPS location in the Houston area. Nine women got their screening mammogram that day, thanks to an exciting partnership between ERS and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to bring breast cancer screenings to the workplace in the Houston area.

This collaboration fulfills a legislative mandate that encouraged ERS to work with state health institutions, like MD Anderson, to find cost-saving initiatives through innovative, value-based solutions. ERS and MD Anderson worked together to provide the mobile mammograms, which are offered at no cost to the member and at no cost to HealthSelect plans.

“We estimate that more than 11,000 HealthSelect participants in the Houston area may be overdue for their screening mammograms,” said Lacy Wolff, health promotion administrator. Recognizing that people are busy, the mobile mammogram initiative brings the imaging equipment to those who might postpone this
important preventive screening.

The van will be at the same locations this month. Once capacity allows, ERS and MD Anderson are considering expanding the program to other surrounding areas.

The mobile mammogram initiative emphasizes an all-important aspect of health care: prevention. “Rather than pulling people out of a river when they’re drowning, we need to go upstream and help them well before they fall in,” Lacy Wolff explained. It’s an analogy she uses often when promoting wellness programs. Still, Wolff concedes that, even when people know that eating well, exercising and engaging in certain health measures can help prevent chronic disease, many “don’t think anything could happen to them—until it does.” 

Take breast cancer, for example. It’s the secondleading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society. Death rates dropped 40% between 1989 and 2016, however. The reason: early detection through preventive mammogram screening and education, as well as better treatment options.

“ERS is committed to early detection,” said Wolff. Through the mobile mammogram initiative, ERS is “helping plan participants simplify their lives by bringing these screenings to them.”

State agencies and higher education institutions in the Houston area can coordinate to bring the University of Texas MD Cancer Center's Mobile Mammography Unit to the workplace. Click here to see more information, as well as the requirements for those interested in getting screened through this Mobile Mammography Unit.