Bonnies Bus Mammogram Services Coming To Pocahontas Memorial Hospital
Marlinton, WV – A very special bus is coming to Pocahontas Memorial Hospital on July 20th and 21st. It’s a bus that brings lifesaving mammogram screening services to women in rural West Virginia. Sara Jane Gainor, Director of the Bonnies Bus program explains how it got started.
“Bonnies Bus is actually the Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography program” says Gainor. “Bonnie Wells Wilson was a woman who actually died of breast cancer. Her daughter Jo Statler and her husband Ben decided to give some money to the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center to buy Bonnies Bus, so that women in rural areas could have access to mammograms unlike her mother who lived in a rural area of West Virginia and did not.”
Gainor says this is the third year for the bus to hit the roads of West Virginia.
“In the first two years we saw nearly 1200 women on the bus and this year already in 2011, we have screened more than five hundred women” she says.
Gainor says in West Virginia, it’s not a matter of whether or not a woman gets screened, but oftentimes, of when she gets the mammogram.
“We know that mammograms are the best way to prevent deaths from breast cancer” says Gainor. “Early detection through screening is the best way to find breast cancer early when it’s most treatable. West Virginia does not necessarily have a higher incidence, but in some areas of West Virginia, the rate that women die of breast cancer is higher than the national average.”
“So what we know that means is that their breast cancer is not being found until a later stage, so they have a higher risk of dying from the disease.”
She says you can’t just show up on the day of the screening.
“Women have to have an order from a health care provider in order to get a mammogram” she says. “And that’s not just on Bonnies Bus, that’s anywhere. That’s why we’re asking women to call the [Pocahontas] Health department to make an appointment to come to the bus for their mammograms.”
Gainor says the program doesn’t receive any federal funding, but they do allow a wide variety of payment options.
“We do accept insurance, Medicare, Medicaid; the Breast and Cervical Cancer screening program will pay for mammograms and other services for women who meet their guidelines which is certain income guidelines” says Gainor, “and women who have no insurance or have a very high deductable for example. If a woman doesn’t qualify for any of those services, then we have had some donations that we can use to pay for mammograms.”
Bonnies Bus will be at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital on July 20th and 21st from 9am to 5pm. Space is limited, so please call the Pocahontas County Health Dept at 304-799-4154 to reserve your appointment.