Alliance for Women and Children hopes for contract extension to continue cancer screenings

State cuts program that has helped low income women with cancer screening

ABILENE, Texas - After providing screenings for 36 counties for more than a decade, the Texas Department of State Health Services has decided not to renew the contract that allows the Alliance for Women and Children to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings.

That contract is set to expire June 30.

The Alliance is now asking the State to keep funding the program for another 6 months so they can look for another medical provider to screen their clients.

Carol Hall is enjoying a cancer free life. She is halfway through chemotherapy after discovering a lump in her breast last October.

She had worked at Dillard's for nearly 20 years, but had recently switched to a career with Love and Care Ministries.

"I had not picked up any insurance yet so Alliance stepped in and did all the paperwork," said Hall. "I did nothing."

Alliance Executive Director Toni Brown said DSHS made the decision not to renew the contract Friday.

"We have diagnosed more than 400 women with a breast or cervical cancer in the time we've been doing this," said Brown. "The benefit to that is only through this state program can we access them to a Medicaid that's specific to breast and cervical cancer for their treatment."

Right now the DSHS is looking for a clinical setting to move the services, like a doctor's office or hospital. The Alliance building wouldn't be suitable for a clinic setting as they provide other services like child care and after-school programs.

"The State's job right now is to find another medical provider that will take on that contract. We're going to make sure they're taken care of and if it's not us, we're going to make sure they're taken care of by somebody and they know how to access that," said Brown.

She said it's important for women like Carol to have a place to go.

"For a woman like Carol, we have a great bond with her because she went through a very dark difficult time and had somebody there to walk along with her," said Brown.

"When you hear that 'C' word...a fear tries to grip you and I think it's an attitude of gratitude because I know I'm ok.  I know I'm cancer free, and it melts my heart," said Hall.

Brown said she's not sure when the DSHS will decide whether to extend the contract, but they have begun contacting physicians in the area.   

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