GI Associates spends a lot of time reaching out to people in the Jackson metro area to educate them on the importance of regular screening for colon cancer. Most insurance plans cover an initial screening colonoscopy with no out-of-pocket expense to the patient.
What About The Uninsured?
It is important to the doctors at GI Associates that those who are uninsured have access to colon cancer screening, and six years ago an idea was born—the GiveBack Campaign. Each year, we contact primary care physicians and ask if they have patients who are at high risk or are symptomatic and are uninsured. Colonoscopies for these patients are scheduled for a Saturday in March, which is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Our doctors, nurses, nurse anesthetists, technicians, and support team all volunteer their time and report to duty on their day off.
“The idea is not only raise awareness about colon cancer and the importance of screening, but to continue to do our part in the community to provide the service to some that perhaps wouldn’t otherwise be able to get it,” said Dr. Jay Underwood.
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a life by what we give.” This quote became the theme for this year’s GiveBack day, and it truly represents the sentiment behind the efforts.
Each year cancers are found, many before they have spread and still can be easily treated. Each year precancerous polyps are removed, thus preventing the patients from developing colon cancer. Each year, people go home with either peace of mind or the help they need. This year 56 people, who would not have been able to afford a screening colonoscopy, were seen by the specialists of GI Associates. And that is why we never lack for volunteers on GiveBack day. Because when the patients are gone and the facilities are cleaned and readied for Monday, our staff goes home knowing they gave someone a chance at life.