Motorcycle Ride Part of Governor’s “Get Screened, No Excuses” Campaign – Most Aggressive Effort in the Nation to Expand Access to Breast Cancer Screenings
Governor Announces State Action to Expand Health Insurance Coverage for Preventative Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer
Nearly 200 Participants, including Sandra Lee and Special Guest Juli Boeheim, Tour Upstate with Stops in the Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, the Finger Lakes and Western New York
Governor Rides Custom Harley Davidson Motorcycle to be Auctioned Off by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to Raise Money to Fight Breast Cancer
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched the second leg of the state’s first-ever breast cancer motorcycle ride – touring upstate New York and riding through the Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, the Finger Lakes and Western New York. The ride supports the Governor’s comprehensive “Get Screened, No Excuses” campaign, which marks the nation’s most aggressive effort to eliminate barriers to treatment, remove insurance hurdles and expand access to life-saving screenings.
The ride began in Albany and then traveled across Upstate New York, making several stops to raise awareness of breast cancer and support families fighting against the disease. As part of the 2016 Breast Cancer Ride, Harley Davidson is donating a custom motorcycle that the Governor is using today and will then be auctioned off by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to raise money to prevent and cure the disease.
“When it comes to cancer, early detection is the best possible treatment,” Governor Cuomo said. “Sandy was fortunate to catch her cancer when she did. But not all women are lucky enough to have access to those life-saving resources. In New York State, we are taking aggressive action to expand access to screenings, reduce insurance barriers and increase preventative services. Now, there are no excuses for not getting screened – and that’s what this motorcycle ride is all about, raising awareness and saving lives. I am proud of what we are doing in New York State to champion women’s health, and I look forward to seeing this action resonate across the rest of the nation.”
“Motorcycle rides have always made me feel free — and I am so happy to be hitting the open road in good health,” Sandra Lee said. “Early detection is the most important way to fight breast cancer and to survive from it. I was lucky because I had early diagnosis. But so many people do not, men and women. Now it does not matter whether you have excuses like time because the clinics and the hospitals are open later and on weekends. Anybody can go. So there is no reason why you should not have early detection and there is no reason why you cannot survive from a breast cancer diagnosis now in this state.”
Breast Cancer Motorcycle Ride – Friday, July 8
Each stop of today’s ride will be an opportunity to educate New Yorkers about the importance of early detection and diagnosis, and help all women across the state access the resources they need to beat breast cancer. The schedule for today’s ride is as follows:
- Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York
- NYS Fairgrounds, Syracuse, New York
- Finger Lakes Community College Victor Campus, Victor, NY
- Canalside, Buffalo, NY
New York State Department of Financial Services Guidance
Following the groundbreaking legislation recently signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week, the Department of Financial Services has issued guidance to inform health insurers that they must provide coverage for medically necessary treatments, such as prophylactic mastectomies and reconstruction surgery and prostheses when the BRCA 1 or 2 gene is discovered or for those who have a strong family history of breast cancer.
The new guidance also requires health insurers to eliminate annual deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance payments for all mammograms, including those provided to women more frequently than current federal screening guidelines such as annual mammograms for women in their forties. It also eliminates cost-sharing for diagnostic imaging for breast cancer, including diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRIs for women at high risk for breast cancer. As a result, women in need of tests other than standard mammograms will not have to pay any additional out-of-pocket expenses for these most common diagnostic tests. A copy of the NYDFS letter sent to insurers can be viewed here.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said: “In the seven months since Governor Cuomo announced the strategy in his State of the State address, New York State has torn down the barriers that far too often prevent women from getting a potentially life-saving breast cancer screening. Today, we can celebrate having the nation's most aggressive plan, ensuring that all woman have access to the health care and services they need and deserve. Now we must all continue broadcasting the message: Get Screened, No Excuses.”
Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said: “DFS is proud to implement Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking legislation and initiatives to provide women with the life-saving breast cancer early detection services they need. The cost of important preventative measures, such as mastectomies and mammograms, should not be a barrier in the fight to save the lives of women and families across New York State. DFS will ensure that health insurers meet their legal obligations to cover breast cancer screening and treatment and eliminate any obstacles women and their families may face in the fight against breast cancer.”
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said: “Breast cancer affects women of all walks of life and under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the state is taking important action in the fight against this disease. By expanding hours at hospitals and clinics and removing the obstacle of co-pays, this legislation will ensure millions of women across New York State have the opportunity to obtain the critical services and support they need to lead long, healthy and happy lives. When New York leads, the rest of the nation follows, and I am proud to see this decisive action to achieve continued progress in the fight against this disease."
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said: “Under Governor Cuomo, New York State is championing women's health and making New York a role model in combating breast cancer. The legislation and funding supports greater access to mammograms and care for women, and reduces financial strain of screening. Today is about getting the message out to women across New York State: when it comes to breast cancer, there is zero excuse to get screened. I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to putting an end to this disease once and for all and I am proud to join him in this effort.”
Mayor Byron Brown said: “The Breast Cancer Ride is educating Buffalonians about the importance of early detection and diagnosis, and it also supports Governor Cuomo’s new legislation that calls for expanded screening hours at hospitals and the elimination of insurance hurdles for mammograms and other diagnostic imaging procedures. By making it easier for women to access these services, we are increasing their chances for a positive outcome if they are diagnosed with cancer.”
Juli Boeheim said: “Breast cancer is a fight that requires all of us to join forces and support each other – as mothers, wives and sisters. By expanding screening hours at hospitals and clinics and eliminating burdensome insurance hurdles, this legislation is helping more women across the state gain access to the services they need and deserve. I applaud Governor Cuomo's groundbreaking efforts to eliminate barriers to breast cancer screenings and I am proud to join in this effort.”
“Get Screened, No Excuses” Campaign
Screening for breast cancer can increase the detection of the disease at an early stage, when treatment is most effective. As part of the Governor's "Get Screened, No Excuses" campaign, the new law will work to remove the barriers that often prevent women from getting screened, including:
- Require 210 hospitals and hospital extension clinics to offer extended hours of screening for at least four hours per week to help women who have difficulty scheduling mammograms during the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday. These hours include 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday or Sunday;
- Eliminate annual deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance payments (“cost-sharing”) for all screening mammograms, including those provided to women more frequently than current federal screening guidelines such as annual mammograms for women in their forties;
- Eliminate cost-sharing for diagnostic imaging for breast cancer, including diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRIs for women at high risk for breast cancer. As a result, women in need of tests other than standard mammograms will not have to pay any additional out-of-pocket expenses for these most common diagnostic tests;
- Adds public employees of cities with a population of one million or more, to the population of public employees in New York State who are currently allowed four hours of leave for screening for breast cancer each year. Current state law requires all public employers to provide their employees with four hours of leave each year for breast cancer screening. Now public employees in New York City will receive the same benefit as all other public employees statewide. More information on New York State Breast Cancer Screening services is available here.
To build on the new legislation, the "Get Screened, No Excuses" campaign includes a series of initiatives the Governor outlined earlier this year to promote awareness about the benefits of early detection and enhance access to these life-saving screenings. The $91 million campaign includes:
- A new “Text Line” to help women find mammogram locations. New Yorkers can text “Get Screened” to 81336 and after submitting their zip code; they will receive information about screening locations with extended hours near their home;
- 10 mobile mammography vans that will be dispatched to every region across the state, so mammograms can be provided in communities;
- Patient navigators, who will be available in every region to help women secure access to screenings and obtain the necessary treatment in the event they do have breast cancer;
- A public awareness campaign focused on low-income, underserved communities to promote awareness of the importance of mammograms;
- Community-based peer education programs that will enlist trusted and trained educators to discuss the importance of mammograms and early detection of breast cancer with women;
- $5 million from the New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund to support promising cancer-related technologies that help increase breast cancer screening and improve the diagnosis or treatment of breast cancer.
For more information on breast cancer screenings and support, call the New York State breast cancer hotline at 1-866-442-CANCER (2262). The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can assist non-English speaking callers. Visit www.ny.gov/getscreened for more information on New York State’s breast cancer screening programs.
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