Spectrum Health next week rolls out a new mobile mammography unit that will offer breast cancer screenings at Meijer Inc. stores across West Michigan.
Acquired with a donation from Meijer, the 45-foot, specially-equipped bus will provide screenings on a walk-in basis. The goal is to increase access and improve convenience for women who want a mammography by taking the service to patients, rather than having the patients come to a set location.
“We’re providing more choice for patients,” said Elaine Bower, program administrator of Spectrum Health’s Betty Ford Breast Care Services. “As health care changes, we’re going to be trying to reach the patients where they are in a number of services. This is kind of the foundation for that effort.”
Spectrum Health for several years has operated a mobile mammography unit that provides screenings at health clinics in the market such as Cherry Health in Grand Rapids and local employers, Meijer included, that want to host it for their employees’ use. The additional unit doubles capacity to do 6,000 screenings annually and extends the service publicly through the partnership with Meijer stores in a 13-county area.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible” to get a mammogram, said Stephanie Karsten, community giving manager at that Walker-based Meijer. “Maybe a lot of our customers aren’t able to make it to their doctor’s office and they’re doing their shopping. Maybe that 15 minutes can save their lives.”
Patients should have the results of their screening available within 24 hours, Bower said. Spectrum Health forwards the results to their primary care physician.
The new mobile mammography service begins operations May 22 at the Meijer store in Lowell. Spectrum Health and Meijer also host an open house for the unit May 20 at the Alpine Avenue store.