|Access to Care |
The Rapides Foundation has a long-standing interest in the area of healthcare access, supporting efforts that help people get access to potentially life-saving healthcare services.
The Cenla Medication Access Program (CMAP) provides prescription medications to people who cannot afford them, and it has been a tremendous success since it was created in 2001. In 2012 CMAP filled close to 20,000 prescriptions.
The Foundation also continued its work to increase cancer screenings for breast, colorectal and cervical cancers in Central Louisiana. Through a partnership with the Partners in Wellness Program at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center at LSU Health Shreveport, the CMAP Cancer Screening Van travels to locations throughout the year, providing local residents a convenient way to get these vital screenings. Patient navigation is provided to patients requiring follow-up tests or treatment. In 2012 the van made stops throughout Central Louisiana, performing more than 450 cancer screenings. This included mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and handing out colorectal screening kits.
In partnership with the American Cancer Society Mid-South Region, the Community Health Advisor Project trained volunteers to help educate individuals about the importance of cancer screenings. Community Health Advisors provided education, outreach and information to men and women in Avoyelles, Natchitoches and Rapides parishes.
The Foundation launched its “Cancer Screening is Important” campaign to further emphasize the importance of these life-saving screenings. With testimonials from local residents, the campaign encouraged residents to talk to their doctors to see if they should be screened.
The Foundation awarded a grant to the Louisiana Primary Care Association to enhance a patient-physician behavioral health collaboration in Central Louisiana called the Integrated Behavioral Health Program. This funding allowed services to be provided at three Federally Qualified Health Centers in the Foundation’s service area: Winn Community Health Center in Winnfield, and the Outpatient Medical Center locations in Natchitoches and Leesville. Through this telehealth program, a patient’s primary care provider, a behavioral health specialist, a patient navigator and consulting psychiatrist work together to address the patient’s behavioral health issues.
In 2012 the Foundation also addressed healthcare access by awarding a four-year grant to Northwestern State University’s School of Nursing to support the training of nurse practitioners. The first of three cohorts began their work in the fall. Over the term of the grant, a total of 24 students will be trained as nurse practitioners and will commit to practice in Central Louisiana in the primary care field for a two-year period after graduation.