Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=100241
Story Retrieval Date: 6/20/2013 5:11:00 AM CST
Walgreens Co. is donating $50,000 in gift cards to encourage uninsured Illinois women to take advantage of an Illinois Department of Health program offering free screening and low-cost treatment for breast and cervical cancer.
Walgreens hopes the gift cards can provide an incentive for women to get screened, as well as offset medical expenses the women may have, said Vivika Vagara, Walgreens spokesowman.
Awareness of the program and screening for breast and cervical cancer is important because it’s something women can overlook for a number of reason, said Melanie Arnold, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health.“Women are so busy taking care of their families that sometimes they forget to take care of themselves,” she said.
Women without insurance can begin the scrreening process by calling the Women’s Health Line at 1-888-522-1282 for a referral to a local agency. The agency takes its information to make sure they qualify for the program, and the women are directed to where they can be screened. If they get a positive result, they’re assigned a case manager who then helps them through the treatment process.
“If you’re uninsured and you’re an Illinois resident, you qualify,” Arnold said.
To promote the program, the Department of Health is recruiting salon owners for the ongoing “Beautiful Inside & Out” initiative. Participants receive posters and literature to give to their clients to promote awareness of breast and cervical cancers and the importance of screening.
Parker has been involved in the Beautiful Inside & Out program for a year-and-a-half, but finds the gift card incentive a positive addition.
“When you develop a rapport with clients they feel more like family than someone you have a business relationship with,” said Parker. “We want to make sure they’re taken care of.”