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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sacred Heart ending mobile breast cancer screening service

UPDATED: Fri., July 21, 2017

Brenda Covert, a women’s health program coordinator at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, retracts the hydrolic stabilizers on the hospital’s mammography coach shortly after it was purchased in September 1999. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Brenda Covert, a women’s health program coordinator at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, retracts the hydrolic stabilizers on the hospital’s mammography coach shortly after it was purchased in September 1999. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center is getting rid of its “mammography coach,” the mobile radiology lab that has provided women across the Inland Northwest with breast cancer and osteoporosis screenings for 17 years.

The hospital made the announcement in a letter distributed to patients this week. The service will end on Sept. 1.

“When Providence began operating the coach in 2000, mammography and osteoporosis screenings were not readily available to women,” the letter says. “Over time, these services have become eligible for insurance coverage and the number of providers offering the services has increased throughout the region.”

The bus served women in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, often at health fairs in rural, underserved areas. According to the letter, most women served by the mammography coach now live within half an hour of a fixed radiology center providing 3-D imaging and other services.

Eliminating the bus “will result in the elimination of 2.8 (full-time equivalent) positions within Providence Health Care,” wrote Elizabeth DeRuyter, director of external communications for Providence Health Care, in a statement. “These caregivers will have an opportunity to seek other positions within Providence.”

The hospital will work with existing site coordinators to ensure continued care for the most vulnerable patients, she wrote.

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