(March 03, 2021) Georgetown, TEXAS –Lone Star Circle of Care (LSCC), a federally qualified health center operating a 24-clinic health network across Texas, is relaunching the Big Pink Bus and bringing mobile mammography to Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties in late Spring 2021. The bus will address the need for affordable, accessible mammography among uninsured and underserved Central Texans.
LSCC will offer free or low-cost breast cancer screening on a newly remodeled mobile mammography bus. Patients will receive high quality 3D breast imaging services performed by a registered Mammography Technologist. ARA Diagnostic Imaging will partner with LSCC to read the images and serve patients needing diagnostic follow-up. For screening services, private insurance is welcome, LSCC will qualify eligible uninsured patients for safety net programs, and a sliding fee scale will be available according to household size and income.
“LSCC understands that early detection of breast cancer saves lives and, through the relaunch of the Big Pink Bus, we are committed to increasing access and reducing cost barriers to mammography screening. We are further encouraged by extensive community collaboration now taking place to help identify cancer treatment pathways for those who are uninsured. LSCC is honored to serve its role in increasing breast cancer screening rates and improving outcomes for our neighbors,” said Jon Calvin, LSCC CEO.
Emblematic of LSCC’s community-centered approach to health, LSCC worked with various community leaders to relaunch the Big Pink Bus. Along with Shivers Cancer Foundation and community leader Susan Dawson, Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin convened the Central Texas Addressing Cancer Together (ACT) coalition to bring together providers, community-based organizations, researchers and funders to address cancer care for the uninsured, with an initial focus on breast cancer. From there, LSCC and Dell Med secured funding of almost $1 million from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), plus additional funding through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, to provide mobile mammography services to underserved Central Texas women.
“Dell Med is thrilled to be a Big Pink Bus partner to reduce the impact of breast cancer in Central Texas by ensuring timely access to screening for our most vulnerable families,” said Elizabeth Kvale, M.D., director of the Supportive Care and Survivorship Program and medical director of the cancer treatment program at Livestrong Cancer Institutes at Dell Med. “The bus relaunch directly aligns with our core mission at Dell Med to develop, deliver, and test to continuously improve healthcare delivery models in the Austin region and beyond,” she said.
Community collaborations continued with Ascension Seton generously donating the bus and start-up funding to support the future of this program, and more than $2 million has been committed in grants and donations to support LSCC’s operation of the bus for the first three years. Williamson County identified significant funding to apply to the new 3D imaging equipment needed for the bus and targeted cancer treatment services. In addition to the catalyst funding from CPRIT and Ascension Seton, a community effort led by a team of local volunteers, dubbed The Wheels Team, has been instrumental in securing financial support for the Big Pink Bus.
“Our community is excited to bring together the entire regional cancer care ecosystem to work together to find cancers earlier through better screening, and address the needs of our uninsured population, and Lone Star is at the heart of that work,” shared Susan Dawson, co-chair of ACT.
Additional support for bus operations will come from the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride, an annual bike event that for years has raised funds to support local programs and services for those impacted by breast cancer. LSCC is the new home for staff and operations of Mamma Jamma and all funds raised by the September 18, 2021 and future Rides will support Big Pink Bus services.
“Over the last 12 years the funds raised by the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride have made a tremendous impact in the breast cancer community and we are proud to see our mission continue with Lone Star Circle of Care, in support of the Big Pink Bus. By bringing Mamma Jamma in-house with Lone Star Circle of Care, the Ride will not only achieve greater operating efficiencies, but most importantly, we will deliver more vitally needed support to those in our community battling breast cancer.” Anne Fertitta, President, Board of Directors, Texas Mamma Jamma Ride.
“On behalf of TheWheels Team, we’re excited to bring together a range of individuals, corporations and foundations who are committed to putting the Big Pink Bus back on the road to save lives by detecting cancers much earlier, and to give many more women the peace of mind that they are cancer free,” said Nan McRaven, who is also a founder of the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride and an Austin community leader.
According to the latest data reported by the American Cancer Society, only 40% of uninsured Texas women ages 40-64 reported having a mammogram in the past two years. In the months ahead, LSCC will work with its own clinics, other health care facilities and community organizations to schedule local screening events with a goal of providing 2,700 screening mammograms in the first year of operation.
About Lone Star Circle of Care
Founded in 2001 in Georgetown, Texas, LSCC is a federally qualified community health center providing exceptional and accessible patient centered healthcare for our Texas neighbors. LSCC currently serves 95,000 unique patients annually, providing adults, seniors, and children with primary care, women’s health and OB/GYN, psychiatry and behavioral health, general dentistry, optometry, convenient care, virtual visits and pharmacy services. LSCC is a registered 501(c)3 Texas nonprofit corporation. For more information visit www.lonestarcares.org.