ORLANDO, Fla. — Mammograms save lives, but not every woman has access to them, and the reasons why vary greatly.
A Central Florida medical nonprofit is working to fill those gaps in health care, hoping Congress will help them provide the critical screenings.
26Health offers full medical services to people who can’t afford them, but one service the system is missing is a mammogram machine.
Thousands of patients from the LGBTQ+ community and beyond have received medical care and wraparound services from 26Health.
“There are 26 letters in the alphabet, and we care for every letter,” said Dr. David Baker-Hargrove, co-CEO and co-founder of 26Health.
Stephanie Hunter, 26Health’s clinical director, said the lesbian community has a higher incidence of breast cancer because they’re afraid to go to the doctor and be judged.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy is pushing Congress to use community-directed federal funds to provide 26Health with its own mammography machine. The $200,000 to $300,000 proposal has already passed the U.S. House.
“I think it’s really important as well that an organization like this, that reaches out and doesn’t just provide physical health services, but also provides mental health services and wraparound services, has the equipment that they need to serve our community,” Murphy said.
26Health officials said they are ready and waiting for the equipment to arrive.
“We can do the other exam pieces already,” Baker said. “But this really kind of creates everything that we need for all of the primary care, women’s wellness.”