January 6, 2020
Exalta Health Earns Contract
A new contract between Exalta Health and the Kent County’s Women’s Health Network will benefit both Exalta Health and its patients.
The Women’s Health Network program contracts with 30 medical sites in Kent, Muskegon, Barry and Ottawa counties to offer the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control and Navigation (BCCCN) program. This is both a national and State of Michigan program that offers free mammograms, clinical breast exams, Pap smears and pelvic exams to women who qualify, as well as follow-up care, medical referrals and cancer treatment.
Through this new contract, which could be worth up to $20,000, Exalta Health becomes one of those 30 sites and those critical and often life-saving exams will be made available to its patients with the contract now covering the costs.
Exalta Health’s Andrea Cervantes said the organization has offered these tests in the past, but essentially took a loss on them. The new contract means Exalta Health will not only be able to provide the tests but also will break even in doing so. For a small nonprofit that depends on donations to fund its services, access to a fund is a big deal.
In addition, access to the funds means Exalta Health will be able to serve more of its patients who need these exams and will be able to work with its patients in a more direct and more proactive way to make sure critical exams and screenings aren’t being missed.
“We’re really grateful to the Kent County Women’s Health Network,” said Cervantes, a registered nurse. “This grant is going to allow us to serve our patients better and serve more of them. We see a lot of female patients at Exalta Health, so BCCCN is really important to them and to us.”
She added that with regular screening, breast cancer is more likely to be detected at an earlier stage, when it is most treatable and that cervical cancer rates in Michigan continue to decline as well.
But, the Kent County Health Department recognizes that lack of access to regular screenings within communities with lower socioeconomic levels is a problem and has worked to address the problem. Partnerships with organizations like Exalta Health are a big part of its strategy, said Cervantes.
Founded in 1996, Exalta Health provides compassionate, accessible primary and urgent care medical and dental services to uninsured, underinsured and underserved families. It relies on donations from businesses, individuals, churches and foundations and also relies on a cadre of dedicated volunteers who provide many of the organization’s medical and dental services.