September 16, 2015

City of Chicago, Cook County Partner to Expand Breast Health Services to Uninsured Women

City Investment Will Provide Screening Mammograms for Up to 5,000 Women

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today a new partnership between the City of Chicago and Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) to expand and improve breast health services available to low income women citywide, including providing accessible and effective mammography screenings for as many as 5,000 more uninsured women.

“Breast cancer is a devastating diagnosis, but early detection and treatment can result in improved health outcomes,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This critical health investment will allow the City and County to provide life-saving services to more women than ever, while also ensuring the City is investing in quality care options accessible to uninsured women.”

In 2016, the City of Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) will invest a total of $635,000 to provide additional mammography services at three CCHHS locations. CDPH will also continue to provide $100,000 to Roseland Community Hospital and Mercy Hospital and Health Center as part of the ongoing collaborations.

“The best way to save lives is to ensure easy access to screenings and follow up services. This partnership will allow us to not only reach more women than ever before, but to ensure that they receive the quality breast health services to not only detect cancer, but to treat it,” said President Preckwinkle.

The Cook County Health & Hospitals System provides more than 13,000 mammograms annually and provides the full continuum of high quality breast cancer care from screenings to diagnostic and treatment services.

Starting in January, City-funded services will transition to three County sites, in addition to continuing service at Mercy Hospital and Health Center’s four sites and Roseland Community Hospital. Through the City’s investments, up to 5,000 uninsured women will have access to free-of-charge screenings at these sites, more than doubling the 2,100 mammography services provided yearly by the City.

“We are investing in new technology and more staff to expand capacity within the System. This new partnership will certainly jump start those efforts,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, Chief Executive Officer, CCHHS. The County estimates that it may provide as many as 20,000 mammograms county-wide in 2016.

“Breast cancer is an issue personal to me, as my family and friends have lost their battles due to late detection,” said Alderman Michelle Harris. “This partnership is immeasurably important to so many women who will now receive quality screenings and services.”

“This new partnership between the City and County creates capacity for uninsured women to be properly screened and treated,” said CDPH Commissioner, Dr. Julie Morita. “This is good news for the health of our residents.”

As part of their work, the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force has agreed to partner with CCHHS and CDPH to help ensure the expanded mammography services continue to provide high quality care for uninsured women in Chicago.

“The Task Force has been concerned for many years about lack of access to high quality breast health care for women in Chicago and the resulting high death rate for women of color from breast cancer. We stand ready to work with the City and County to ensure the expanded services meet the highest quality of care,” said David Ansell, Board President, Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.

According to a 2014 survey from CDPH, 8,625, uninsured women in Chicago who are the recommended age for mammograms have not had a screening in the last two years.