Positive impact of Affordable Care Act

Jan. 25, 2017

Big improvement seen in Jackson health indicator

JACKSON, MI – The Affordable Care Act is credited for significant improvements in the screening rate for colon cancer among low- and moderate-income patients in Jackson.

The Center for Family Health, a federally qualified health center that opens access to underserved populations, reports that in four years the percentage of its patients who received recommended colonoscopies has more than doubled.

Colonoscopy is a screening procedure typically advised starting at age 50. It is recommended because it can catch colon cancer in early stages, when survival rates are high.

In 2012, 29.7 percent of CFH patients recommended for colonoscopies received the procedure, said Kim Hinkle, Quality Improvement Director for the Center. The rate climbed in each successive year, hitting 62.7 percent in 2016, Hinkle said.

In total, 3,102 CFH patients received colon-cancer screening in 2016, compared to 1,187 patients in 2012, the last year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

“Thousands more Jackson residents have now received cancer screening that may have saved their lives,” Hinkle said. “This is significant improvement in our community’s health status, and we owe a big thanks to the ACA in helping our community improve care.”

 Elizabeth Findley, a nurse practitioner in the family-medicine department at CFH, credits most of the improvement to provisions of the Affordable Care Act that extended coverage for colonoscopies.

“I didn’t know how to order a colonoscopy before the Affordable Care Act,” said Findley. “It wasn’t covered for patients who didn’t have insurance.

“Now that it is covered, I have had patients that I was able to convince to get a colonoscopy come back and thank me, because polyps were found and taken care of before they turned into cancer. Preventive screenings like these are important, and the ACA has provided the mechanism to support preventive care for our patients.”

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