Commissioners approve new mammography unit funding for Community Health Northwest Florida

Special to the Press Gazette/USA TODAY NETWORK

MILTON — The Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) recently approved $331,583 in funding to support the purchase of a new mammography unit.

The GE Senographe Pristina Gen 2 will be installed at Community Health Northwest Florida's newly renovated primary care location at 6671 Caroline Street in Milton.

“We all know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. These types of services are important for early detection and we are happy to be able to provide the funding for this new mammography unit for Community Health Northwest Florida,” said Vice Chairman and District 2 Commissioner Bob Cole. “Partnerships like this one are vital for our community and it is great to see Community Health Northwest Florida providing services in Santa Rosa County to those who otherwise may not have access to primary care.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and among women in the United States, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death.

When breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the five-year relative survival rate is 99 percent. Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams, and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

Research shows that women with insurance coverage are more likely to report having had a mammogram in the past two years. In 2015, only 30 percent of uninsured women ages 40 to 64 reported having had a mammogram in the past two years, compared to 72 percent of privately insured women and 58 percent of women with Medicaid coverage.

“We are grateful to the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners for their overwhelming support of the purchase of this new mammography unit,” said Chandra Smiley, CEO, Community Health Northwest Florida. “We know that in breast cancer diagnoses, early detection saves lives.

"Providing access to this critical preventive care for the women of Santa Rosa County will surely impact the overall health and wellness of the community, and for that, we couldn’t be more pleased,” she added.

According to Florida Department of Health CHARTS data, during 2018, there were 118 Santa Rosa County female residents diagnosed with breast cancer, or 107.6 women per 100,000 female population. Florida overall had 17,923 women diagnosed, or 123.4 per 100,000 female population.

Community Health Northwest Florida, formerly known as Escambia Community Clinics, is designated by the Health Resources Services Administration Bureau of Primary Health Care as the area’s only federally qualified health center.

Community Health Northwest Florida, with 17 locations, is one of 1,400 community health centers nationwide delivering affordable, accessible, quality, and value-based primary health care to millions of people regardless of their ability to pay. Health centers like Community Health serve one in 11 people across the country, and leads the nation in driving quality improvement and reducing health care costs for America’s taxpayers.

During 2020, Community Health Northwest Florida sites cared for over 50,000 patients, including over 8,000 residents of Santa Rosa County.

For more information, visit healthcarewithinreach.org.