August 14, 2009
OHCA Contact: Jo Kilgore, Public Information Manager, (405) 522-7474.
Oklahoma Cares Program Touches 20,000 Oklahoma Lives
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Cares, the Oklahoma Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment program, has reached a major milestone since January 2005: helping more than 20,000 women receive treatment for breast and cervical cancer and precancerous conditions.
The Oklahoma Cares program assists low-income women between the ages of 19 and 65 who have abnormal breast or cervical cancer findings who are in need of diagnostic or treatment services. This program provides peace of mind for women who might have foregone treatment because of the cost. The Oklahoma Cares program also has transportation available for women who need assistance getting to their medical appointments.
Oklahoma Cares allows women who qualify to receive full SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid) benefits for the duration of their cancer treatment. Women stay enrolled in the program until they are no longer in need of treatment.
“When you’re told that you have cancer, you shouldn’t have to do without treatment because you can’t afford it,” said Dr. Lynn Mitchell, Oklahoma Medicaid director. “Being in the low-income category, having no creditable health insurance and then being diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer can feel like an uphill battle.”
Oklahoma Cares gives women the opportunity to talk with someone who knows how to get appropriate treatment. Members credit the program’s success to knowing the nurse they talk to genuinely cares about seeing them get better. They also appreciate having the nurse consistently follow up with them on their progress.
To participate, women must be screened under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) and found to have either an abnormal finding or need treatment for breast or cervical cancer. The BCCEDP was established under Title XV of the Public Health Service Act.
Oklahoma Cares is a program that partners with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Cherokee Nation, the Kaw Nation and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The success of the Oklahoma program greatly affects the lives of the 20,000 women that have been served.
Women interested in Oklahoma Cares can find a screening provider in their area or get more information by contacting the Oklahoma State Department of Health at (866) 550-5585. Licensed health care providers interested in becoming certified screeners for the Oklahoma Cares program should call 866-550-5585 or e-mail Okcares@health.ok.gov.