NYC Health + Hospitals Reminds New Yorkers to Schedule Screening Mammograms, Avoiding Delays in Important Health Screenings During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Delaying important health screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to later diagnosis of serious diseases, such as cancer. Public health system has re-engineered patient care spaces and expanded access to telehealth services to further avoid exposure or transmission of COVID-19.
Oct 13, 2020
NYC Health + Hospitals today reminded New Yorkers to schedule screening mammograms and other breast cancer screenings as the system observes Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Health experts urge New Yorkers not to delay critical health screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which can lead to later diagnosis of serious diseases, such as cancer. To ensure everyone’s safety and reduce any potential exposure or transmission of COVID-19, NYC Health + Hospitals has re-engineered patient care spaces, including ambulatory care clinics and radiology suites throughout the health system; while also implementing enhanced cleaning protocols according to the CDC, NYS Department of Health (NYS DOH), and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). In addition, the public health system is also adhering to safety protocols shared by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Referrals for screenings can be made as part of a televisit, which the public health system has expanded access to since the pandemic surge in the spring. The public health system has seen fewer completed screening mammograms in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. To schedule a mammogram, New Yorkers can call 844-NYC-4NYC to make an appointment with their primary care provider (PCP) or to get a new PCP.
“Routine health screenings can be daunting regardless the circumstance, and the COVID-19 pandemic only heightens concerns. However, NYC Health + Hospitals is utilizing every strategy possible to ensure your safety, and we urge you not to delay critical health screenings, such as mammograms,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Medical Officer Machelle Allen, MD. “Early detection is still one of the best ways to fight against cancer, and delaying your mammogram by just a couple months has the potential to jeopardize outcomes. The public health system remains committed to your health and safety.”
Patients seeking care at any NYC Health + Hospitals facility for breast cancer screenings will experience a new, safer patient environment that includes:
• Requiring all patients and visitors to wear face coverings;
• Mandatory temperature and symptom check for all patients and visitors;
• Prompt triage and isolation of any person presenting with fever for further evaluation;
• Redesigned waiting rooms, floor decals, and updated signage to ensure social distancing;
• Plexiglas sneeze guards that have been installed at all registration and welcome areas;
• Proper PPE worn by all staff, clinicians, and radiology technicians appropriate to their patient care responsibilities; and
• According to the CDC, ACR, NYS DOH, and NYC DOHMH, enhanced cleaning protocols of all spaces and radiology equipment, including mammography machines.
All NYC Health + Hospitals patients now have the option to access care from their home through a phone or tablet when it’s clinically safe to do so, including primary care and over 90 specialty care services. Phone and video visits offer a safe alternative for many patients and reduce the time physically spent in a hospital or clinic. Referrals for breast cancer screenings can be made as part of a routine virtual visit with your provider, reducing the time required to physically be in health care spaces.
“Early breast cancer detection saves lives,” said Assembly Health Chair Richard Gottfried. “It remains critically important for patients to schedule screenings even with the difficulties of accessing care during COVID-19. NYC Health + Hospitals is working to ensure New Yorkers can continue to do so safely and in a timely manner.”
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women aged 50-74 years old have a mammogram every two years. Women 40 to 49 and over 74 years old should talk to their doctor and decide whether to have breast cancer screenings.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., it is estimated that more than 42,000 people this year will die from breast cancer in the U.S., with an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer being diagnosed.
NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to providing care to all New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status with low- to no-cost health care options. Financial counseling is available for everyone without health insurance to access low-cost insurance or register in the NYC Care health care access program. In addition, our social workers and care coordinators can meet with patients over the phone or in-person to discuss any social needs. NYC Health + Hospitals “whole person” approach to health care remains a priority during this pandemic.
To make an appointment or find a doctor, please call 844-NYC-4NYC, and click here for more information on breast health. For more information on how NYC Health + Hospitals is ensuring patient safety during care appointments, visit this site.