Utilizing women’s health services

Ohio lawmakers are to be commended for allocating an extra $350,000 for the Breast and Cervical Cancer project, while also increasing the range of the ages and income levels for eligible women. It is an important project, but Julie McMahon, mission director for the Ohio branch of the Susan G. Komen foundation, pointed out a problem.

“Southeastern Ohio underutilizes this program,” she said. “We try to find people and refer them.”

From March 1994 to April 2017, the program provided diagnostic services to 417 women in Washington County. Well-woman tests and screenings are offered in both Marietta and Belpre, and with a little awareness and outreach, perhaps many more of those in need of those services will be able to take advantage of them.

According to Carole Merkle, southeast Ohio coordinator for the program, women can be referred through providers — for example, through Memorial Health System.

“We have a clinical arm through the medical center here and through mobile outreach programs,” she said. “We schedule patients for pap smears, pelvic exams, mammograms and provide full service in conjunction with our partners. We’re also the fiscal agent, in that we hold the resources — the money — for hospital systems.”

An outreach program will be at Belpre’s Memorial campus Sept. 25 and at the Marietta College Physicians Assistant program building Oct. 22.

If you’re wondering about the program, find out more. The kinds of services offered save lives, and an increase in availability should be shouted from the rooftops.