Pink Up: Extra hours for mammogram appointments as COVID-19 restrictions lift

Pink Up: Safety precautions during mammograms

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - After more than one month of limited mammogram appointments, a Heartland hospital’s back to full schedules with added hours.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused medical facilities to postpone scheduled visits, including mammogram appointments.

Now, with restrictions starting to lift, Saint Francis Healthcare System is working to get patients back on schedule.

“It’s easier to do the slow down than it is the speed up," said Ginny Ginithan, the director of Imaging Services at Saint Francis. “We are happy that we’re able to bring services back, and we are excited to get people back to the normal routine.”

But, with appointments picking back up, Ginithan said extra safety precautions are in place.

Screeners will ask patients questions, take their temperature and give them a mask.

Social distancing guidelines will also be implemented.

“There will be fewer chairs available so we can practice that social distancing. As well in the dressing room, we won’t have as many people in the dressing room at once, so we’ll space out patients out so that we know that we’re practicing the best safety measures, and we’re taking care of our community," she said.

Saint Francis employees will also follow a similar procedure. They will be wearing masks at all times.

“As things have begun to open, we see more and more people that are ready to come in, get their screenings taken care of, and I think this week we have had not really anyone who has had an issue," said Ginithan.

Saint Francis says they’re making up for lost time from the pandemic and expect it to go smoothly.

“The next two to three weeks will be very busy, and I think that as we go forward that will start to taper off. So it’s anyone’s guess at this point how long it will take, but I think we’ve got a really good grasp on how to manage that timeline, and I don’t think the timeline will be nearly as long as what some people are expecting," she said.

If you need help paying for a mammogram, Saint Francis has options for financial assistance. Also, funds raised through Pink Up help cover free cancer screenings for breast, lung, colon and prostate cancer.

For more information, call a financial counselor at 573-331-5217. All requests and documentation stays confidential.

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