Get on board! New Mammo Bus headed to rural communities in West Michigan

FFL: Mammo bus headed to rural areas

MUSKEGON, MICH. - Now living too far away is no longer an excuse for not getting a mammography -- the newest Mammo Bus is now headed to rural communities in West Michigan.

"It's very thrilling to provide that kind of service in outlying areas to those who actually don't have access," Elain Bower with Spectrum Health’s Betty Ford Breast Care Services says. The new bus was made possible in part from generous donation by Meijer.

The Betty Ford Breast Care Services mobile mammography unit is designed to give women like Penny Fisher every opportunity to get a mammogram. "I've been needing to get this done and I haven't wanted to travel to Grand Rapids," Fisher explains. "So, this was convenient for me."

It's as easy as pulling up, parking and walking into the bus. The mobile mammography bus is fully equipped with the same technology you'd find at your local hospital.

The bus also offers one added benefit that Roxanne Deibel really enjoyed, “I've never done this before but I actually discovered that it's very quiet and it's very private," she said. "There's no one else in there while you're in there -- it's a little peaceful environment, you're in and out quickly and it's very comfortable."

"I think I would choose this for the convenience and for the fact that it is so private."

Because of the limited number of patients the bus can process in a day women are still encouraged to call and make an appointment for the bus but they do accept walk-ins.

And that's the staff's goal: "There's the very same level of service and quality on the mobile unit as you would find at any one of our sites," Bower explains. Staff on the bus is also committed to making sure every woman has access.

“The mobile services are available to anyone," Bower says. "We accept patients who are either underinsured or don't have insurance through our grant funds we can make sure they have a free mammogram."

According to Komen Michigan, about 24-percent of of women in our community aren't covered, and that's where the nonprofit steps in. Komen Michigan provides funding to cover women without insurance.

"We want to make sure this bus is going everywhere so, there are no excuses for women to not get their help," says Tanya Horan, the Vice President of Development at Komen Michigan. Horan also said that funding comes from partners like Crystal Flash who donated $25,000 to help hard-to-reach areas.

It’s something Marc Foerster with Crystal Flash feels passionate about -- the company already provides propane to 40,000 customers and he says most of them are in rural communities.

To learn more or find out when the Betty Ford Breast Care Services mobile mammography unit is coming to a location near you, visit www.spectrumhealth.org/mobileunit

Free mammograms are available for those who are uninsured or under-insured. To find out if you qualify call 616-486-6022.

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