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Surprise! You may qualify for free mammograms, a free gas card and more

July 11 – Many women are surprised to find that the Health Department of Northwest Michigan's Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program's (BCCCP) income guidelines allow them to qualify for free services, according to Joy Klooster, who coordinates the program. And, thanks to Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention, women who live in Antrim County receive a gas card to help with travel expenses to and from their appointments.

Appointments are available now at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan's BCCCP clinics in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego Counties. FREE mammograms and pap tests are given for eligible women 40-64 years of age, who meet income guidelines and who lack health insurance or coverage for mammograms.

"Many people think the Health Department programs are only for those with severe financial concerns," Klooster said. "But the guidelines are really very generous, because it's just that important to connect women in all communities, and all financial situations, with the health services they need." Guidelines are based on family size. For example, a woman with a family of three can have an income up to $48,825 and qualify for BCCCP. The program includes a clinical breast exam, Pap test, and mammogram by trained professionals. If further testing is needed, that's also covered. Cancer treatment is covered by the Medicaid Treatment Act. BCCCP appointments can include blood pressure, Body Mass Index, cholesterol and blood sugar screening. An RN trained in lifestyle counseling will review health information and assist with understanding tests. Women 50 and over may also receive colorectal cancer screening.

"These programs are very important for our community,"said Klooster. “Often, the annual exam women receive at the Health Department is the only visit they make to a health care provider.”

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about the BCCCP program, or to schedule an appointment in Mancelona, Charlevoix, Petoskey/Harbor Springs, or Gaylord, call (800) 432-4121.