Falls Community Health Recognized for Colorectal Cancer Screening Efforts

Falls Community Health was recently named the 2018 Organization of the Year by the South Dakota Comprehensive Cancer Control Program’s Colorectal Cancer Task Force. Colorectal cancer, which is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, is also the second leading cause of death among cancers affecting men and women. Early detection is key.

The recognition cites several clinic initiatives to prioritize and advance colorectal cancer screening. Falls Community Health employs a Patient Navigator who educates patients on the importance of screenings, sends annual reminders to patients who are due for a screening or who need to return their home test specimens, assists with referrals for diagnostic colonoscopies, and helps to obtain financial assistance for colonoscopies.

The clinic also implemented monthly meetings that include the Clinical Quality Coordinator, Patient Navigator, and the Program Supervisor to review services and develop new interventions to improve the screening rate. As a result of those meetings, the clinic now has reminders and collection instructions in languages other than English, clinic staff use tablets to aid in the demonstration of the collection process, and Falls Community Health sends birthday cards to patients turning 50 with a screening reminder.

The clinic’s interventions have significantly increased the return rate for the at-home immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT) as well as improved the diagnostic colonoscopy completion rate. In 2017, Falls Community Health’s screening rate increased 3 percent, and the iFOBT return rate increased to 75 percent.

“Falls Community Health is a primary care resource for the entire community, especially those who may be uninsured or underserved,” said Public Health Director Jill Franken. “Our patients understand that screenings like colonoscopies are important, but they are also concerned about cost and may refuse needed tests as a result. As a patient-centered medical home, we appreciate support from partners that allows us to provide our residents with critical access to health care services.”

Falls Community Health accepts patients with all coverage options, including Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, and no insurance. Discounts are also available through a sliding fee scale program for those who qualify. For medical appointments, call 605-367-8793, and for dental appointments, call 605-367-8022.