Pictured left to right is Shore's NJ CEED team members Jasiah Sanchez, Kirian Alvarez, and Evelyn Tejeda, working an event in Atlantic City this summer to educate the community on important cancer screenings and how the CEED program can help.
With adequate health insurance, yearly screening mammograms are usually fully covered for women aged 40 and up. But for women who are underinsured or uninsured with limited income, those screenings come with a hefty price tag that can lead them to avoid mammograms that can detect breast cancer early and save their life.
Thankfully, a statewide grant-funded program called NJ CEED helps underinsured or uninsured people get free cancer screenings, including breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate. Shore is the lead agency for NJ CEED in Atlantic County and helps many people get free cancer screenings each year.
Angela Bailey, MSW, LSW, manager of cancer community outreach, leads Shore's NJ CEED team and oversees CEED grants, reporting and financials. Case coordinator Evelyn Tejeda, LPN, works on the clinical side, navigating patients through the screening process, and if they receive a cancer diagnosis, she helps them connect them to treatment. Kirian Alvarez is Shore's NJ CEED data/outreach coordinator. She serves as the point person in the community and the office to help enroll people in the program and manage referrals. Tejeda and Alvarez are both fluent in Spanish, which is essential because many of the people they help speak Spanish. In her community cancer outreach role, Jasiah Sanchez is often out in the community or networking with local organizations and people to make sure everyone who qualifies for CEED knows it is available to them.
A lot goes into the work the CEED team does, especially when a patient receives a cancer diagnosis after being screening. The CEED team supports them every step of the way.
"Think of the CEED team as a second set of eyes to make sure patients move through cancer screening and diagnostic services, so care isn't delayed when they don't know what to do," said Bailey.
"If a patient is diagnosed with cancer through the CEED program it's a significant process navigating them into care. Generally we connect them to a special Medicaid program available through the CEED program for diagnosed patients or charity care. Each patient is connected to the most appropriate place for treatment based on their individual circumstance," said Bailey.
Bailey says the NJ CEED work she and her team does is gratifying. Each year, they help anywhere from 300 to 600 patients get breast screenings – and that's just one of four types of cancer screenings they coordinate. Last year, out of over 300 breast screenings, they caught breast cancer in five patients.
"The patients we help are so appreciative," said Bailey. "Our CEED staff is thanked all day long and patients are so happy to be able to get the cancer screenings they need."
If you live in Atlantic County and are unable to get important cancer screenings because you are uninsured, have high insurance deductibles or out of pocket expenses you cannot afford, please call Shore's NJ CEED team at 609-653-3484 or complete the form online at https://shoremedicalcenter.org/screening-uninsured.