While the country is grappling with record levels of unemployment causing people to lose their healthcare insurance, thousands of Houston women are delaying their regularly scheduled mammograms.
The Rose, one of Houston’s non-profit breast cancer organizations, is preparing for their next year with the virtual State of the Rose on Thursday, outlining their efforts to help as many women as possible whether insured or not.
“Our concern, as we move forward, will have to do with how unemployment is impacting the number of people without health care coverage,” said Co-Founder and CEO Dorothy Gibbons.
Launched in 1986, The Rose is a prominent breast imaging center in the Greater Houston area. Offering mammograms, biopsies and treatment, The Rose reduces deaths from breast cancer by providing access to screening, diagnostics and treatment services to women regardless of their ability to pay, Gibbons said.
The Rose has two locations, one in southeast Houston, and their newest location opening in the Galleria area as well as a mobile program that covers dozen of counties across Texas.
According to the electronic medical records vendor Epic, cancer screenings are down between 86 and 94 percent this year. And according to Gibbons, The Rose is anticipating an increase of 10,000 more cancers in Texas will go undetected this year because of people delaying their regular screening during the coronavirus pandemic.
“What’s going to happen is, those cancers are going to turn out to be late-stage cancers when they are detected,” Gibbons said
Even though The Rose reportedly lost more than $900,000 in revenue this past fiscal year, they remain busy and are still getting more and more requests for appointments. Because of social distancing requirements, The Rose can’t meet as many women per day as they could before the pandemic. Despite the loss in revenue, The Rose continues to serve as many women as possible, she said.
At The Rose, when three insured women get mammograms, they help cover the costs for one uninsured woman.
“We depend a lot on our insured women to help us with our revenue,” said Gibbons, “and if we’re not serving that many it means that’s impacting that revenue.”
On Aug. 27, the day after The Rose celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of women’s suffrage, they will be hosting the State of The Rose, their annual meeting. The event will be held virtually at 3 p.m.
“The State of the Rose is an opportunity to say thank you for everyone who is a supporter,” said The Rose Board Chairman Pamela Lovett. “It’s what we’ve decided is an opportunity to communicate in a firm, upbeat, and time-efficient way with everyone who has an interest in The Rose.”
In the next fiscal year, “we anticipate seeing a huge influx and increase in the uninsured,” said Gibbons. “On the good news side, we anticipate having another mobile coach coming in that is going to help us with those capacity needs.”
The Rose encourages all women, insured and uninsured, to make their appoints with The Rose by calling 281-484-4708. The attend the State of the Rose on August 27, sign up here.
“We’re anticipating more people will need help but at the same time we are also preparing to be able t serve them.”