Lung Cancer Screening Program
St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center (SMRMC) proposes to enhance their lung cancer screening program through the support of the Maine Cancer Foundation’s (MCF) funding. In 2014 St. Mary’s entered into a collaborative relationship with Spectrum Medical Group to create a program where St. Mary’s patients who were underinsured (MaineCare) or uninsured would receive low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) screening at a discounted rate. St. Mary’s will use funds from the Maine Cancer Foundation to supplement or underwrite the discounted rate of services ($250) for those identified populations (estimating 80 individuals). Additional use of the funds will be expended on marketing the program widely as well as targeting patients at the practice level.
The single largest cause of death from cancer worldwide is lung cancer. Maine is no exception. Maine’s rates per 100,000 persons and age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population (19 age groups – Census P25–1130) is 79.8 as compared to the national average of 73.0 and ranks the highest in New England. Current research suggests that mortality rates will lower with the use of CT scans versus chest radiography because of early detection.
Sixty-four percent of SMRMC’s patients are insured through Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan (45%) or MaineCare which serves 19% of the total patient population (the highest utilization in the State). The remainder is private pay patients (30%) and self-pays (6%). In 2013 3.6% of the hospital’s business was for un-reimbursable charity care, which equates to $14.0 million dollars. The utilization numbers for 2014 are estimated to be even higher. The uninsured and the underinsured are St. Mary’s patients; the mission goal of St. Mary’s is to continue the healing ministry of the Catholic Church in the Spirit of St. Marguerite d'Youville by providing preventive, curative, restorative, and supportive services with compassion and respect for everyone. Support from the MCF will further our mission goal of caring for one and all.
The results of the National Lung Screening Trial found a 20% decrease in mortality rate for those high risk individuals that were screened with a low dose CT scan. St. Mary’s goal is to increase the rate of lung screenings in order to decrease the number of lung cancer deaths in the population served. The overall goal is to increase the number of patients at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center whose cancer is diagnosed at stage 1A.
Early diagnosis has the most positive outcomes for the patient. Historically, a large majority of lung cancers are detected at stage three and four when people are already symptomatic. Early diagnosis equals an increased cancer survival rate for patients long term.