FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--Why would members of a managed care group
whose coverage includes mammography not take advantage of the
benefit? Focus groups, conducted last year by Sanus, the managed
care division of the New York Life Insurance Company, found that
the answer was lack of access, said Candy J. Rudy, manager of
account services at New York Life/Sanus.
The company followed up on the finding by initiating a program
to make it easier for its members to receive mammo-grams, including
the use of mobile mammography screening vans.
In some cases, the focus group sessions found that women were
reluctant to take off time from work, Ms. Rudy said at the second
annual conference of the Industries' Coalition Against Cancer.
These women had missed work for office visits for routine gynecologic
care, including Pap smears, but hesitated to take off more time
to follow through on their referrals for mammography.
Other women said that they did not want their insurance company
to know about the screening or that they did not want their employer
To solve these problems, Ms. Rudy said, Sanus contracted with
vendors to provide mammograms to its members without referrals.
"The member makes the appointment herself directly with the
hospital vendor, so she's not telling her employer and she's not
telling Sanus. The vendors bill Sanus directly," she said.
When a member calls for an appointment, the vendor asks a series
of questions to make sure the woman is a candidate for screening
according to the American Cancer Society guidelines, Ms. Rudy
She pointed out that the use of mobile vans reduces travel time
and time away from work, making the service more accessible. A
mobile mammography program in the Dallas/Fort Worth area has proved
so successful that a fifth, independent vendor has been added
to the original four hospital vendors.